Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would approach the Congress high command over his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu’s remarks on the sacrilege issue during electioneering.
A day before polling, Sidhu had raised questions on the probe into the desecration of religious texts in 2015.
Maintaining that Sidhu’s remarks “might have affected the party’s performance in Bathinda , the CM said he would take up the issue with the party high command once things settled after the election results.
The CM also said Sidhu’s performance as a minister needed to be reviewed as he had “not been able to handle his own department”.
The Congress in Punjab performed poorly in urban areas and Sidhu was the minister for urban development, the CM said, adding that it was wrong on his part to make the controversial remarks.
The chief minister said the minister evidently did not understand that a special investigation team (SIT) had been set up to probe the sacrilege issue.
The chief minister reiterated that Sidhu’s yari and jhappi (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani army chief would not be tolerated, especially by Army personnel, who were being killed by the ISI-backed terrorists.
The chief minister also said the performance of the state ministers would be reviewed in the backdrop of the Lok Sabha results.
“We will review the performance of the ministers. It was not a veiled threat made by the party before the elections,” he added.
He rejected suggestions of any detrimental impact on the party performance by Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa, saying the party had won in the areas in which he had some influence.
He thanked the Congress workers, party leaders and people of the state for the party’s victory in Punjab and said they would introspect on the defeat of the party in Bathinda and Gurdaspur.
Congress chief Sunil Jakhar lost to BJP nominee and actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol from Gurdaspur.
I do not understand people’s preference for a Bollywood star over an experienced leader, he said, hoping that the Indian democracy would evolve in coming years.
He blamed the shifting of votes to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the party’s defeat in Hoshiarpur.
Overall, people of Punjab have responded to the government’s welfare programmes, he said. The CM said the sacrilege issue certainly worked against the Badals.
Commenting on AAP state chief Bhagwant Mann performance in Sangrur, the chief minister said it was due to his own standing.