A day after Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal invited Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu for talks to resolve differences, the latter said he was ready to go to Sukhbir barefoot but the deputy CM must go beyond words and ensure action.
In a written response, Sidhu stated that before describing the issue of development of Amritsar as an internal matter of the BJP, Sukhbir should have glanced at the facts. The deputy CM and other respected leaders who aspire for credit must also learn to gracefully own up discredit as well, the MP said.
“If chief minister Parkash Singh Badal heads the Amritsar Development Authority, if you (Sukhbir) rushed to Amritsar to inaugurate each development project, including the latest announcement of Rs. 2,000-crore projects wherein you ignored to involve me, if your name is put on top of each foundation stone of Amritsar’s development works – including accomplished and unaccomplished – then how come it is an internal matter of the BJP?” Sidhu asked Sukhbir.
The cricketer-turned-politician further said, “Dear Sukhbir Bhaji, leave aside Amritsar, isn’t it you who provides vision to each important project of every major city of Punjab, such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala? Now, when the issue crops up for justifiable rights of Amritsar, you are just passing the buck.”
About the invitation extended by Sukhbir, Sidhu said, “I am grateful to Sukhbir for inviting me through the media to discuss Amritsar’s issues and I am ready to come to you barefoot with all humility to discuss the projects of the holy city, but, ironically, the need for a special invitation has occurred because Sukhbir Badal tends to ignore me on each issue of Amritsar.”
“May I know why I was not invited when you (Sukhbir) announced Rs. 2,000-crore projects for the holy city last week? Ask your deputy commissioner why I am not invited to the monthly meetings of the district planning committee? Why am I not allowed to deliver a speech when you invite the PM to Amritsar on important occasions? Why is there breach of only my privilege every time when a foreign dignitary pays visit to Amritsar?” asked Sidhu.
“By ignoring me, you are ignoring the mandate of the people of Amritsar, and for that matter the Nagri of Sri Guru Ram Dass. I am prepared to face all personal humiliations, but I would not tolerate a single thing against the Vatican and the Mecca of Sikhs,” Sidhu told Sukhbir in his reply.
The three-time Amritsar MP said he was not pointing fingers at anyone and he had no personal issues with anybody. Sidhu said he had already formally requested the CM to order a time-bound judicial probe to ascertain on whose orders Rs. 60 crore of Amritsar Improvement Trust money, meant to be used for the holy city’s development, was diverted.
“Let the truth come out through a legal probe and on that basis you have got every constitutional right to punish the guilty irrespective of his/her stature and party affiliation,” said Sidhu.
He also requested the CM to expand the scope of the legal probe to unmask the person who initiated legal proceedings in the Punjab and Haryana high court to scuttle the Amritsar solid waste management project.
“Instead of stretching the issue to the extent of harming ‘coalition dharma’, keeping in view the impending Lok Sabha elections, I humbly request you to do justice with Guru Ram Dass di Nagri and restore all the money taken away from the Amritsar Improvement Trust and immediately start work to complete pending projects by March 31, 2014,” Sidhu added.