Captain Amarinder Singh is a fatherly figure,” Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, in response to the raging controversy over him calling Congress Rahul Gandhi his ‘captain’.
Sidhu had referred to Rahul as his captain when reporters asked him about going to Pakistan, despite Singh’s disapproval. He said, “Rahul Gandhi is my captain. It is he who sent me to Pakistan. Rahul Gandhi is the captain of the captain (Amarinder Singh) also.”
“I love him [Capt Amarinder Singh], I respect him. You don’t wash dirty linen in public. I will sort it out myself,” Sidhu further said, on Monday while answering mediapersons in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar.
Sidhu visited Pakistan on November 28 on its prime minister, Imran Khan’s personal invitation, as he puts, to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor. The Kartarpur corridor will connect the shrine in Pakistan to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Gurdaspur and give visa-free access to Indian pilgrims.
Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan had riled Amarinder Singh, who said he tried to dissuade Sidhu, following a grenade attack in Amritsar that left three people dead.
Also, Sidhu’s recent remark that Rahul was his ‘Captain’ reportedly irked Singh even more and several cabinet ministers too.
In wake of this escalating controversy, the state cabinet is set to meet at 3 pm on Monday (December 3). The meeting is scheduled to be held at the chief minister’s official residence.
Sidhu, however, is not expected to attend the meeting as he is away in Rajasthan, campaigning for his party members for the upcoming assembly elections in the state.
On Saturday, three ministers — Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi called for Sidhu’s resignation from the state cabinet.
On Sunday, state’s Women and Child Development and Transport Minister Aruna Chaudhary said Sidhu’s remark was “unforunate” and “uncalled for”.
The row over the trip escalated in the state even as Sidhu backtracked on his claim that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was involved in his decision to attend the ceremony. “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,” Sidhu had tweeted on Saturday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too took potshots at Sidhu, headlined by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
She, when asked about the controversy, said she would not be able to comment on the issue as it was a major tussle between “the three captains in the Congress party.”>