Recent Congress’ rally at Moga of Friday has rendered Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu humiliated. A controversy has erupted after Navjot Singh Sidhu was not included in the list of speakers. A miffed Sidhu said it was the first time after former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s rally in Amritsar in 2004 that he has not been allowed to speak. Sidhu was then Amritsar MP from the BJP.
“If I am not good enough to speak at Rahul’s rally, I am not good enough as a speaker and a campaigner. Whether I am invited to speak or not is something that is not under my control. But it has shown me my place and made it clear who all from the Congress will campaign for the party in the coming Lok Sabha polls,” Sidhu said.
Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar took Sidhu’s side and stated that not inviting him to speak at the event was an oversight. “Sidhu is our party’s star campaigner. It was an oversight on part of the party.”
The event was anchored by state cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, whose department was the organiser of the debt waiver function. Randhawa said he was asked by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs, Asha Kumari, to name just four speakers. Sadly, the controversial minister did not make it to the cut of four people.
Moreover, after the humiliating snub, Rahul Gandhi did not even bother to listen to Navjot Singh Sidhu who had some no doubt useless, but still insights to share. Sidhu had prepared to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Balakot airstrikes and wasn’t given the opportunity to do so. Rightly so, as Captain Amarinder Singh and Sidhu have taken divergent stands on the airstrikes, with Sidhu questioning the BJP on the number of casualties and Amarinder saying that the “message that acts of terror would not go unpunished was more important than whether one militant was killed in the airstrikes or 100”. Apart from this, after the Pulwama terror attack, he had claimed that no country can be blamed for terrorism and thus appeared to have issued a clean chit to Pakistan. The Chief Minister at that time had also not agreed with his views and had taken a different, pro-nationalist stance.
These are not the first instances of differing views between the 2 Punjab congress representatives. A few months ago, Sidhu had shocked the country with his ‘hugplomacy’ when he went and hugged Pakistan Army chief, General Bajwa at his swearing-in ceremony. At that time as well, Amarinder Singh had criticised this move of his minister.
It’s not clear whether Congress is actually condemning these stunts by Navjot Singh Sidhu or whether this is all a big pretense to please the public by sidelining him before the elections. But one thing is crystal clear, that is, Congress just doesn’t want any more negative publicity added to their eternally growing list as giving him a platform to speak is precisely asking for the same.