Chandigarh, August 3: Punjab Local Bodies Minister and cricketer-turned-comedian Navjot Singh Sidhu is going full throttle against Fastway, a near monopoly cable network owned by close associate of Sukhbir Singh Badal, the once power house in the government headed by his father Parkash Singh Badal. In the process he has labelled his own government as “Kamjor” (weak) that virtually amounts to indictment of changed style of once aggressive Capt Amarinder Singh. Here is a case of a minister alleging scam but says his hands are tied as thechief minister is weak.
He has been famous for his one-liners, as commentator, as comedian and as politician. “Kamjor government” again was his one-liner yesterday while pressing for action against Fastway at a news conference. He has held several press conferences on this issue.
Significantly, he has not sent any communication or complaint to Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh in this regard so far but has been conveying his views only through the media.
“Navjot Singh Sidhu has not sent any official communication to the office of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has made it clear that every matter or complaint would be probed as and when brought to his notice irrespective of the party affiliations. At the same time, there would be no political vendetta. Capt Amarinder Singh has not received any written communication from Sidhu on this issue”, said Chief Minister’s media advisor Raveen Thukral.
Sidhu had yesterday talked of Rs 20,000 crore by way of non-payment of taxes by Fastway, the allegation that was denied by the company in the evening.
He has been quoted as saying, “The excise department that collects taxes is with the CM. If an ordinance is passed and that power be given to the local bodies department, I am ready to audit the accounts of Fastway cable network, ferr vekhiyo main ki kardaan jinney rajj ke luteya”.
It is not just the Fastway case on which Capt Amarinder Singh is coming under attack. However, in this case the salvo has been fired by his own cabinet colleague who joined the Congress on the eve of the Assembly elections after he could not work it out with the Aam Aadmi Party that was his first preference. He has been representing BJP in the Lok Sabha from Amritsar but was denied ticket as the party opted for Arun Jaitley who lost to Capt Amarinder Singh.
It was the design worked out by Sukhbir that Sidhu that he was eased out. He was having problems with all powerful Akali minister from Majitha, Bikram Singh Majithia. Significantly, despite differences, Sidhu had polled the maximum votes from Majitha segment in the last Lok Sabha election that he contested from Amritsar.
Capt Amarinder Singh is a changed man this time unlike his previous term when vendetta politics vitiated the atmosphere the like of which Punjab had never been associated with. Even adversaries in Punjab used to maintain best of social relations. It is only now that the situation is changing but in the process, it is Capt Amarinder Singh who seems to be at the receiving end.
Interestingly, super luxury Mercedes buses of the transport companies owned by Sukhbir Badal plying between Mohali and Amritsar which were withdrawn immediately after the change of guards in the state are back on this route. The Amarinder government has come under attack from roadways employees unions for accommodating Badal buses as before.
Sidhu is among the most well-known faces in India as he has also been part of a famous comedy show too. However, running a government is a different ball game. A minister levelling allegations of a scam is unprecedented, at least in Punjab. Such situations have been witnessed only during revolts, including against Parkash Singh Badal in 1979 during his second term as the chief minister.
The matter partly concerns the bodies department so far as laying cables in cities is concerned.
Amarinder has been labelled as “kamjor” within less than six months of his government and that too by his cabinet colleague. The signals are not good.