Razia Sultana resigns as Cabinet minister, Once Capt. loyalist, now firmly in Sidhu camp

A three-time Congress MLA from Punjab’s only Muslim majority town Malerkotla, Razia Sultana is the lone Muslim MLA in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Sultana was retained as Cabinet minister under newly appointed CM Charanjit Singh Channi, but resigned Tuesday after Navjot Sidhu’s resignation as PPCC president. Sultana had won from Malerkotla for first time in 2002 […]

A three-time Congress MLA from Punjab’s only Muslim majority town Malerkotla, Razia Sultana is the lone Muslim MLA in Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Sultana was retained as Cabinet minister under newly appointed CM Charanjit Singh Channi, but resigned Tuesday after Navjot Sidhu’s resignation as PPCC president.

Sultana had won from Malerkotla for first time in 2002 on a Congress ticket, followed by 2007 and then 2017. She lost 2012 polls to SAD candidate Farzana Alam alias Nizara F Khatoon.

Interestingly, while Sultana is wife of retired IPS officer Mohammad Mustafa, who retired in February this year, Farzana Alam’s husband, Mohammad Izhar Alam, was also a retired IPS who died in July this year. Both served as Director General of Police (DGP) in Punjab Police—- Alam as DGP (Prisons) and Mustafa as DGP (Human Rights).

In 2017, Sultana defeated her own brother Arshad Dali, who was Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Malerkotla, to become a three-time MLA. From SAD her competitor was businessman Mohammad Owais. During her campaigning for elections, Sultana was often accused of using her husband’s clout in Punjab Police.
After her 2017 win, she was inducted as a Cabinet minister for first time under Captain Amarinder Singh.
However, her relations with Amarinder soured after Dinkar Gupta, a 1987-batch IPS officer, was appointed as the Punjab DGP, superseding Mustafa who was 1985-batch officer.

After Gupta’s appointment as DGP, Mustafa even refused to work under ‘a junior’. He also moved Supreme Court challenging Gupta’s appointment as DGP but eventually withdrew his plea and retired in February this year. Since then, he has been working for Congress party and was recently appointed as ‘principal strategic advisor’ by Sidhu, which Mustafa had ‘accepted’.

Sultana was also among five ministers who objected to sons of two Congress MLAs (Rakesh Pandey and Fateh Jang Bajwa) being given jobs on ‘compassionate grounds’. The move was eventually approved by the Cabinet.

Sultana’s entry into politics is credited to late Sajida Begum, former two-time Congress MLA from Malerkotla and wife of Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Khan of Malerkotla.

Recently, Malerkotla was announced as 23rd district of Punjab by former CM Amarinder Singh. Earlier, it was a part of Sangrur district.

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