Run-a-ball politics of Navjot Sidhu
If there is one politician in the Punjab Government who can give competition to the Chief Minister for news column space — for good or bad — it is Navjot Singh Sidhu. He is Minister for Local Bodies, Tourism, Archaeology, Archives, and Museums, a set of portfolios he is known to have described as “one and a half”-the first being one, and the rest adding up to half. But going by the bustle about anything he does, you may be pardoned for thinking he is deputy chief minister, a position he may have once secretly aspired for.Living his life from one battle to the next, Sidhu has just emerged unscathed from the court case that could have put him out of circulation, but only to get back into the thick of political jousting. And who better to do that with than his own party. Earlier, it was the BJP that had to manage the restless maverick that resisted any attempt at disciplining. Right now, Sidhu stands politically isolated within the state Congress unit, perhaps even in the Cabinet. A group of MLAs from Majha he had cultivated have also gone cold after receiving spots in the Cabinet.The most obvious development pointing to his issues with the government is the Cabinet ganging up to reject the mining policy proposed by him as part of the sub-committee set up for the purpose. There may be issues with his suggestions, or even the way he went about preparing the report, but the manner in which he has been put down betrays political intent more than administrative. His suggestions on building regularisation also met with a similar fate. Speculation on the state party leadership’s discomfort with his growing public image, thus, should only be expected.