Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday said the BJP's position as a leading national party had taken a beating as it had failed to stand by its Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and had chosen to "succumb to pressure from its alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)".
Reacting to reports that the BJP had managed to "rein in" Sidhu in the MP's ongoing battle against the Badals, Bajwa claimed here that the saffron party had succumbed to the SAD instead of maintaining a tough posture in favour of someone who was "speaking the truth".
"The Akalis have been unable to digest the truth. But what is worse is that the BJP is toeing the Akali line instead of the position being the reverse," Bajwa said while talking to HT prior to his party's rally organised by Congress leader Karamjit Singh Rintu at Rattan Singh Chowk in the Amritsar North assembly segment.
Referring to reports that the SAD was thinking in terms of swapping the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat with the BJP in lieu of the Amritsar seat and offering the Jalandhar (reserve) seat to the BJP in lieu of the Hoshiarpur (reserve) seat, Bajwa said this again showed that BJP chief Rajnath Singh was dancing to the tunes of the Badals.
Claiming that there was a move to send Sidhu packing from Amritsar, Bajwa said the exit of the BJP MP was a planned conspiracy which began taking shape after the SAD-BJP came back to power in 2012. First came the municipal corporation Amritsar polls, where the Akalis ensured the defeat of certain BJP nominees to emerge as the largest party to lay its claim to the mayor's post, which was ultimately denied to them, he added.
"Having failed in the first attempt, the Akali leaders deliberately started ignoring the holy city and dumped many of Sidhu's projects. They laid a trap for Sidhu into which he ultimately fell," stated the Congress leader while claiming that rumours had already started doing the rounds that the controversial BJP MP would be shunted out to Delhi to make way for a close relative of the Majithia clan from Amritsar in the next parliamentary polls.
Bajwa attacks Modi
Later, while addressing a rally, Bajwa advised chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to re-think his party's stand of staying with the National Democratic Alliance as the BJP had projected Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. Modi is the biggest threat to the minority communities, including the Sikhs, he added.
"Instead of bestowing the title of 'Sardar' on Modi, Badal should have given the honour to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who sanctioned a number of development projects for the state," he added.
Bajwa also referred to Sidhu's charges of the development projects being scuttled by the government. He said all deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal had done for the holy city since 2007 was to "build castles in the air" and nothing more.