On Friday, the cricketer turned politician and controversial Punjab Minister- Navjot Singh Sidhu- sparked a new controversy. On being asked despite Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s objection, why he visited Pakistan, Sidhu said, “Mere captain Rahul Gandhi hain, unhone toh bheja hai har jagah (my captain is Rahul Gandhi, he has sent me everywhere.”
In an exclusive interview with news agency ANI, Sidhu said, “At least 20 Congress leaders asked me to go. The central leadership of the party asked me to go. Punjab chief minister is like my father, I told him that I had already promised them (Pakistan) that I will go.”
#WATCH Navjot Singh Sidhu, Congress in Hyderabad: Mere captain Rahul Gandhi hain, unhone toh bheja hai har jagah (for #KartarpurCorridor). Hamare Captain sahab ke bhi Captain Rahul Gandhi ji hain' pic.twitter.com/XmagrUgfWw
— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2018
Earlier, the Congress maintained that Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan is entirely personal. He has not got any official sanction either from Punjab government or from anyone else. Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa said: “Navjot Singh Sidhu went there on personal invitation. He didn’t go there in an official capacity as a Minister. This has also been clarified by the Punjab CM. The onus of whatever he says there in his personal capacity lies on him alone.”
However, with Sidhu’s latest statement claim of ‘personal visit’ falls flat. Earlier, the News18 has aired a video clip in which Sidhu can be seen saying, “Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi has sent a special plane for me to participate in this auspicious ceremony.”
#NewsAlert — @sherryontopp’s visit was not personal; @RahulGandhi ensured that Sidhu went to Pakistan. A special plane was sent by Rahul to enable the visit. #KartarpurCorridor #KartarpurWar #TheRightStand with @AnchorAnandN. pic.twitter.com/a805zY7Den
— News18 (@CNNnews18) November 29, 2018
According to the report, the video is from Madhya Pradesh where Sidhu was campaigning for the party as its star campaigner for the state assembly elections. In the video, Sidhu is stating a special plane has been sent to enable him to attend the Kartarpur corridor ceremony.
Amid such huge dissonance between Sidhu’s claims and the Congress party’s claims, it is increasingly becoming difficult to figure out what the true picture is. However, the Congress party cannot maintain distance from Sidhu’s antics in Pakistan by claiming that the central leadership of the party has not sanctioned him to visit Pakistan.
Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan has been marred with a lot of controversies. He is receiving flak for visiting Pakistan and for exhibiting his motormouth skills there. He went to Pakistan despite receiving huge protest within his Punjab Congress state unit. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had even asked Sidhu to reconsider his decision to attend the Kartarpur corridor event in Lahore. CM Amarinder had earlier declined Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s invitation to attend the foundation stone laying for the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan. CM Amarinder cited continuous terrorist attacks sponsored by Pakistan in Punjab and brutal killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistani forces. He asserted, “I have strong feelings on the issue. I have a strong bond with the Army and cannot stand seeing my people killed.”
There was a time when Sidhu was known for his pro-India stance. Ever since he joined Congress, his loyalties seem to have shifted to the terror capital of the world.