Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told by the Congress party that he cannot speak against his boss Amarinder Singh, today put out a clarification by calling the state Chief Minister a “fatherly figure”.
In election-bound Rajasthan, Mr. Sidhu told the source that “You don’t want to wash dirty linen in public. He (Captain Amarinder Singh) is a fatherly figure, I love him, I respect him, I will sort it out myself.”
Sources say that the comment followed the Congress’s stern caution to Mr. Sidhu. He categorically said that the Captain Amarinder Singh’s writ is significant and he should not speak against him.
Last week, the Punjab Congress argument raised as Mr. Sidhu insisted on travelling to Pakistan for the ground-breaking event of the Kartarpur corridor, in what became his second trip across the India-Pakistan border since he attended Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony. Mr. Singh said that he tried to talk with Mr. Sidhu out of it but had been told that he had made a commitment.
When Mr. Sidhu was asked whether he had defied Punjab Chief Minister, who is popular as “Captain”- had quipped: “My captain is Rahul Gandhi. He has sent me everywhere. Our captain’s captain is Rahul Gandhi.”
The next very day, the comment was widely reported, Mr. Sidhu tweets, “Get your facts right before you distort them, Rahul Gandhi Ji never asked me to go to Pakistan. The whole world knows I went to Pakistan on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal invite.”
Several Ministers of Punjab have called for Mr. Sidhu’s exit from the cabinet, demands for him to quit from the CM’s ‘team’ if Mr. Sidhu does not consider him as the state’s Captain.
A Punjab Minister Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said, “We are all solidly behind Captain Amarinder Singh.”
Rajinder Singh Bajwa also said that “if he does not consider Captain Amarinder as his captain then he should resign on moral grounds from the cabinet and do whatever work is assigned to him by Rahul Gandhi.”
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s “insubordination” is likely to be taken up at the cabinet meeting today in Punjab. Presently, Mr. Sidhu is in Rajasthan for election campaigns.
With the demand of an apology from Mr. Sidhu, Congress lawmaker Ravneet Singh Bittu said that “all the streets in Ludhiana are filled with posters that say ‘Punjab’s Captain is our Captain. This is the people’s sentiment. If he considers the Chief Minister his father, why is he hesitating to apologize.”