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Last Updated : Jul 12, 2019 07:15 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Navjot Singh Sidhu goes missing from office as Punjab reels under power crisis

There are rumours that Sidhu was spotted by locals in Jammu and Kashmir while on a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi

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A month ago, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s portfolio was altered. The erstwhile Local Bodies’ minister was asked to take charge of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. However, the former cricketer has not assumed charge of the new department yet.

His presence in the ministry would have been crucial at this point since the state is reeling under an all-time-high demand for electricity. This is primarily due to the increased demand from the agricultural sector, which has seen the plantation of a new, water-dependent type of paddy, coupled with delayed monsoon resulting in dry spells.

According to a News18 report, the maximum demand in 2019 was recorded at 13,633 MW whereas the highest demand clocked in 2018 was 12,638 MW.

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The power situation in the state was in such dire need for attention that Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh himself had to step in and hold a meeting with the electricity department officials to discuss the same.

Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu has reportedly been away because he is anguished at the change of portfolio and deems it a demotion. He was last seen sharing a platform with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, the general secretary of AICC for Uttar Pradesh East, on June 10. But, he has not been seen in public since.

There are rumours that he was spotted by locals in Jammu and Kashmir while on a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi. But, there are no confirmed reports.

So far, the chief minister has also refrained from commenting on the issue although the clamour for the cabinet minister’s ouster has been growing louder and louder.

Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who was Punjab’s power ministry before Sidhu, said: “I would like to tell him that this department is a very good one. It needs a good person to head it. If CM Capt. Amarinder Singh has handed him such a big responsibility, then he should soon assume charge or tell the CM that he doesn’t want to work.”

Notably, the bitterness between the CM and Sidhu is nothing new. Just before he was asked to take charge of the power ministry, he said at a presser that he shouldn’t be “taken for granted”. In the meanwhile, Capt. Singh commented on his “inept” handling of the department of local bodies and also blamed him for the poor performance of the party.

 

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First Published on Jul 12, 2019 03:45 pm
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