A day after getting assurance from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command that the political alliance was intact, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday fired its first salvo against former local parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The district unit of the party has sought disciplinary action against Sidhu for his making statements against the Badals, Punjab’s ruling family, during the campaign for the Haryana assembly seats. “The utterances of Sidhu led to a lot of bitterness between the two alliance partners and were not in good taste,” said district SAD president Upkar Singh Sandhu.”
He said no BJP leader except Sidhu had made any adverse comment against the SAD or the Badals during the Haryana election campaign.
‘SAD made Sidhu MP’
Flanked by senior deputy mayor Avtar Singh Truckanwala and deputy mayor Avinash Chander Jolly, Sandhu tried to project Sidhu as a “thankless individual” to the media, saying, “Had it not been for the SAD support, he would not have become a member of the Lok Sabha in 2009. After the victory, even he had acknowledged that.”
After trailing from the BJP-held assembly segments, Sidhu had scraped through on the strength of the votes polled in the Akali-held areas such as Majitha represented by revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, Sandhu added. “Sidhu thanked Majithia for saving his ‘izzat' (honour) and his turban,” the Akali leader claimed.
On orders of deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Akalis had worked tirelessly even to get Sidhu’s wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the Amritsar East assembly seat, said Sandhu.
‘BJP against Sidhu’
The Sidhu had enemies within own party, who had got him out of the race for the BJP ticket in the Amritsar parliamentary election, said Sandhu, adding that the BJP leaders of Amritsar had asked for ticket to Arun Jaitley.
“It was Sidhu who backstabbed his political mentor (Jaitley) by not canvassing for him in Amritsar. Even the BJP central leadership chose to drop him from a party office,” the district SAD president said. He told the former international cricketer to look back into his performance as MP and long absence from constituency. “Politics is not a television show,” he told him.
Referring to the open-debate challenge that the former MP had thrown at Parkash Singh Badal, Sandhu said Sidhu had no right to challenge the chief minister. “Badal sahib is neither an MP nor a BJP office-bearer. However, I accept the challenge,” he added. None of the Akali legislators from Amritsar district were present.
Asked to react to the SAD comments, the former MP said: “I do not react to (the statements of) puppets.”