Punjab CM meets Ahmed Patel amid rift with Sidhu

New Delhi


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel here amidst ongoing 'rift' with his Cabinet colleague Navjot Sidhu, who is yet to take charge of his new portfolios, party sources said.

Sidhu had met party President Rahul Gandhi, and senior leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Patel here earlier this month and apprised them of his position after he was divested of his key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle.

Patel was entrusted with the task of resolving the differences between the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleague.

In the reshuffle on June 6, the Chief Minister took away Sidhu's Local Government portfolio, citing his poor performance in local bodies cost the party dear in the general elections. He was also divested of his other charge of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and given Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources instead. 

After the reshuffle, the rift between the Chief Minister and Sidhu came to the fore again with Amarinder Singh preferring to keep Sidhu out of crucial consultative groups that were announced to review progress and make changes, if needed, in the government's flagship programmes and schemes.

Barring four, there were changes in the portfolios of all the ministers as a result of the reallocation, which, Amarinder Singh said, would help further streamline the governing system and processes and bring more transparency and efficacy to various departments.

Sidhu had then said his department was singled out publicly for the Lok Sabha loss, but since then, he and his wife Navjot Kaur, a former legislator, have not made any public comment.

He was not available for comment on Saturday despite repeated attempts.

The cricketer-turned-politician is likely to assume his new office by early next week, otherwise he would be divested of his charge too, a senior leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS.