CHANDIGARH: Some cabinet ministers in Punjab on Monday took strong exception to the "no-holds-barred" attack unleashed by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and urged the Congress high command to take strict disciplinary action against the "dissident MLA".
Sidhu has been critical of the chief minister after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a probe report into the 2015 Kotkapura firing case last month.
According to the ministers, Sidhu's "open rebellion" is damaging the interests of the Congress at a time when assembly elections in Punjab are less than a year away.
The ministers dubbed Sidhu's "unmitigated onslaught" on the chief minister as an act of "gross indiscipline and an attempt to undermine" the Congress government in the state.
They said the MLA's personal attack on Amarinder Singh was an anti-party act, which called for immediate disciplinary action.
The ministers including Brahm Mohindra, Sunder Sham Arora and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, strongly objected to Sidhu's actions and open criticism of the chief minister while being an elected MLA from the same party, according to a Punjab Congress statement.
Sidhu's recent comments against the chief minister could no longer be dismissed as the ranting of a disgruntled member of a democratic political party, said the ministers.
The ministers warned that failure to take action against Sidhu could trigger unrest in the Congress' state unit, which would be fatal for the party that has suffered major electoral blows in the recently concluded assembly polls in five states.
The group said it is more than evident now that Sidhu's intentions are "nefarious and motivated by his vested personal and political interests".
It is clear that the "incalcitrant" MLA, through his blatant accusations and allegations, is trying to fan dissent in the Punjab Congress against Amarinder Singh, who had successfully steered the party to an unprecedented win in 2017 and in every major election in the state thereafter, they added.
Dubbing Sidhu's aggressive posturing on social media as an "attempt by the disgruntled MLA" to pressurise the high command into "succumbing to his unreasonable demands", the ministers said unless urgent steps are taken by the party to check his "unbridled tirade", it would encourage other ambitious and rebellious members to raise their voice openly against the Congress leadership.
Pointing out that the chief minister had made several overtures in recent past to resolve any perceived differences on Sidhu's part, the ministers said it is clear that the latter does not want to be placated but only wants to "score political brownie points to further his personal ambitions."
They appealed to the party's central leadership to "nip this insurgence in the bud" so that the Congress does not lose out on the electoral advantage it has in Punjab and ends up losing a winning battle.
Sidhu has been taking on the chief minister over the alleged delay in delivering justice in desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and post sacrilege police firing incidents in 2015.
The cricketer-turned-politician has accused Amarinder Singh of evading responsibility in the sacrilege case.
On Sunday, the Amritsarn East MLA had alleged that there was a "consensus" among legislators that the Badals were "ruling" the state instead of the Congress-led government.