Chandigarh: Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday resigned as the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, plunging the party into a fresh crisis just months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
Sidhu quit the post shortly after the allocation of portfolios to the members of the new state Cabinet.
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he said he will continue to serve the party.
Sidhu had taken over as the state party chief in July amid a leadership tussle with Amarinder Singh, who stepped down as Chief Minister 10 days back while accusing the party high command of humiliating him.
The cricketer-turned-politician didn’t elaborate why he has quit.
"The collapse of a man's character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab's future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab," he said in his letter to Sonia Gandhi.
"Therefore, I hereby resign as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress," he wrote.
Amarinder Singh, who had called Sidhu “dangerous” and “anti-national”, and said he will pit a strong candidate against him to ensure that he doesn’t become the chief minister, was quick to react.
“I told you so… he is not a stable man not fit for the border state of Punjab,” the former CM tweeted.
The abrupt resignation took place on a day Amarinder Singh was headed for Delhi.
Singh’s travel plan had triggered speculation that he might meet some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
His media aide, however, said the Congress veteran had come to the capital on a personal visit and will vacate Kapurthala House, where the Punjab CM stays during trips to Delhi.
Sidhu’s resignation has also prompted speculation over the next move of the politician, who was with the BJP before he joined the Congress.
In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party claimed that Sidhu resigned because a poor person was made the chief minister.
Channi, who took charge last week, is the state’s first Scheduled Caste chief minister.
The Opposition had, however, charged that he was being overshadowed by Sidhu, who they claimed would end up being the party face when the Assembly elections are held.