As he makes new friends, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh may have forgotten some old ones.
Not very long ago, both Amarinder and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and his MLA wife, Navjot Kaur, had openly derided each other through statements.
However, on Monday as Amarinder hosted Navjot Kaur and former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh for lunch at his official residence in Delhi, his team ended up dialing the “wrong” number.
On Friday, Amarinder’s close aide had invited Kamal Virk, cousin of Sidhu’s wife and Sidhu’s personal secretary, who had campaigned for Captain against the BJP’s Arun Jaitley during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Amritsar.
Virk had made sensational revelations in October this year that Navjot Kaur, who was BJP MLA then, had leaked details of Jaitley’s campaign to Amarinder’s team through her and had questioned Sidhu’s stand that he would not align with the Congress led by Amarinder.
Jaitley had replaced three-time MP Navjot Singh Sidhu as the party’s Amritsar candidate but lost to Amarinder. The two cousins have since fallen out.
Virk told HT on Monday that Captain’s close aide Capt Sandeep Sandhu had called her on Friday inviting her for lunch at Amarinder’s residence and joining of Navjot Kaur on Monday at the AICC headquarters.
“Amarinder’s aide told me Sidhu’s wife is erratic, may retract from joining even at last minute if I am there.” Kamal Virk, cousin of Navjot Kaur Sidhu
“But today Capt Sandhu called me when I was minutes away from Amarinder’s residence saying the lunch had been cancelled and they would let me know if there is anything. I called up Amarinder’s OSD Major Amardeep, who said Sidhu’s wife could have cancelled her joining even at the last moment if I was there. I was surprised by this treatment and sent Amarinder a message but he did not respond,” Virk said.
Capt Sandhu described the invite to Virk as a “mistake”. He said he had been asked by Amarinder to invite Sidhu’s wife and he got Virk’s number from someone as that of Navjot Kaur.
“When I called on that number, she already had my number. I invited her for lunch on Monday thinking she was Sidhu’s wife. But on Monday I learnt she was Kamal after receiving a message from her to allow entry to her car. I then called Virk to say the lunch had been cancelled,” Sandhu said.
But Virk dismissed the assertions of Amarinder’s team. “These are all excuses. Major Amardeep took Noni’s (Sidhu’s wife) number from me a day before Capt Sandhu invited me. How can it be a goof-up? The whole experience was quite humiliating as they have been treating people who worked for them with such contempt,” Virk said.