Navjot Singh Sidhu today said he has taken back his resignation as Punjab Congress chief but lost no time in serving a new ultimatum to his party. He said he will return to his office “when a new Advocate General is appointed”.
That could be tough, given that Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has reportedly rejected the resignation of APS Deol, the man Mr Sidhu wants removed as the Advocate General of Punjab.
“I have taken back my resignation,” Mr Sidhu told reporters, finally announcing what had been anticipated three weeks ago after his meeting with Rahul Gandhi.
“When a new Advocate General is appointed I will go to the party office and take charge,” he added.
Mr Deol had handed over his resignation to the Chief Minister on Monday following repeated attacks from Mr Sidhu, who wants him out for representing two accused cops in a sacrilege and police firing case of 2015.
The state government has yet to clarify whether or not the resignation has been accepted. Sources say Mr Channi has refused to accept it, which has infuriated Mr Sidhu even more.
Mr Deol was counsel for former police chief Sumedh Saini, one of the accused in the case related to the desecration of the Sikh religious text Guru Granth Sahib, and police firing on protesters.
Apart from the Advocate General, Mr Sidhu has also been pushing for the removal of IPS Sahota as Punjab police chief. Mr Sahota was the head of a Special Investigation Team formed in 2015 by the then Akali government to probe the sacrilege incidents.
“How can a lawyer who got bail for Sumedh Saini be Advocate General and a person like IPS sahota be the DGP,” Mr Sidhu fumed.
“I have been reminding the new Chief Minister about these issues. Who was the torchbearer in exposing the drugs and sacrilege issue? It was our president Rahul Gandhi. We must resolve these issues,” said the cricketer-turned-politician, appearing to nudge his party leadership.
“When one Chief Minister replaced another this year, what was the AICC (All India Congress Committee) mandate?”
Mr Sidhu resigned in a huff in September over his objections to the appointments made by the man who replaced his rival Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister – Charanjit Singh Channi.
Amarinder Singh was forced to quit in September following months of acrimony with Mr Sidhu. But his exit did not end the infighting in the Punjab Congress.
With the Punjab election just weeks away, Mr Sidhu has not stopped taking swipes at his own government and Mr Channi over a range of subjects.