The Punjab government has withdrawn the security given to BJP leader and former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu in the wake of his attack on the Badals during the election campaign in Haryana.
There were four gunmen attached with the cricketer-turned-politician and on Tuesday they were asked to report back to their respective battalions/districts.
The sudden move of the Punjab government is seen as a reaction of the Badal family to Sidhu’s tirade against it during the recent election rallies in the neighbouring state.
Responding to the government’s move, Sidhu said, “I am not bothered by what all they are doing. When they (Badals) have no answers to real issues, they react with such petty politics.”
He said, “Had I gone to seek gunmen from them? They had themselves given me security and now they have withdrawn it. This is petty politics they are indulging in.”
Making it clear that he would not take up the matter with the BJP high command, Sidhu in his trademark style said, ‘Shehanshah shikaayat nahi karte, shikast dete hain. (Emperors don’t complain, they inflict defeat on others).”
Sidhu, who had gone all out against the Badals and the BJP’s coalition partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab for having an alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana, said, “I had openly challenged the Punjab chief minister for a debate anywhere, anytime on the issue of his party’s alliance with the INLD, but instead of responding to it, they are indulging in such acts,” he added.
Indicating that he is not bothered by the withdrawal of security, he said, “I am a man who knows no fear and will always keep my head high.”
During the election campaign in Haryana, Sidhu had alleged that the Akalis have ‘backstabbed’ the BJP by supporting the INLD in the neighbouring state.
Sidhu’s wife slams Badals
Slamming the state government and the Badal family, Sidhu’s wife and chief parliamentary secretary Navjot Kaur Sidhu said, “This is what they can do. I just want to say that my husband is a three-time MP and a celebrity. He has just raised his voice against the alliance partner. Now if anything happens to him, the Badals will be responsible for it.”
She said, “It is shameful that people with minimal stature are seen roaming with gunmen and a senior leader of the BJP is treated this way.”
Dr Sidhu claimed that earlier there were around 10 security personnel attached with Sidhu, but when her husband no longer remained an MP, six of them were withdrawn. “On Tuesday, the remaining four gunmen were also withdrawn. Normally, an ex-MP retains 40% security given to him, but now Sidhu has none,” she added.
Reacting to the development, Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said, “I have no information about it. There were four security personnel attached with Sidhu, but none of them was from Amritsar police commissionerate.” He said, “Moreover, giving or withdrawing security to someone is under the purview of the ADGP (security) who is responsible for security cover to designated protectees.”
Punjab BJP chief urges Badal to intervene
Terming the move as unfortunate, state BJP chief Kamal Sharma demanded that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal should immediately intervene and issue orders for the reinstatement of the security to Sidhu.
Saying the Punjab BJP did not endorse the decision taken by the government, Sharma said so many politicians and others had been given security without any great threat perception. He said, “Sidhu is not only a former MP but a celebrity who genuinely needs a security cover.”