Navjot Singh Sidhu, local MP, age 49, height 6-foot 2, "missing" since September 2012, last seen on television; Rs-2-lakh reward to anyone who finds him and brings him back.
As old buildings continue to crash over people, new roads get ripped apart, and drains get choked because of rains in his constituency, there's no word forthcoming from the Bharatiya Janata Party (JP) leader. As dawn broke on Monday, Amritsar woke up to see the "missing MP" posters all over the city, on walls, buses and trains.
Amritsar Sangharsh Samiti, a non-government orgainsation (NGO) that put these posters up, also went about distributing these and asking people whether they had seen the man in the photograph. Trains will carry the posters to different parts of the country, to widen the search for Sidhu. Perhaps the idea came from an Akali leader of Patiala, who had offered a reward of Rs. 25,000 to anyone giving him information on former chief minister and Patiala legislator Captain Amarinder Singh, who also had been away from his constituency for quite some time. He has since returned.
(A 'missing Sidhu' poster in Amritsar. Will the laughter-show host take it seriously or as a joke? Munish Byala/HT)
"We are concerned, and the citizens are concerned about the well being of the MP, about his health. We are curious to know if he is under any threat," Samiti president Raman Bakshi told the media while releasing the posters to them here. Bakshi, a former Congress councillor, has said it has been almost a year since Sidhu was last seen in Amritsar, during the swearing-in ceremony of BJP mayor Bakshi Ram Arora in September 2012.
"We see Sidhu on 'Comedy Nights with Kapil' (laughter show on television) every Saturday and Sunday night. That is the only information we have about our missing MP," said Bakshi. "He is the same leader who while campaigning in the last assembly elections for his wife and BJP candidate, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, had said: 'MLA naal, ek MP free (get an MP free with an MLA)'. It is costing us a fortune to get the free MP back," he added.
NGO to ask Lok Sabha speaker
Amritsar Sangharsh Samiti will write to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar to ask her about Sidhu's "disappearance". "We will seek information from the speaker about Sidhu's whereabouts, as he has not been attending the ongoing monsoon session," We will inquire from the Speaker about Sidhu's last sitting in Parliament and will inform her of his long absence from Amritsar", said Samiti president Raman Bakshi. A copy of the poster will also be mailed to the speaker. "Any of Sidhu's colleagues in Parliament could also receive the award, if they could find him and bring him to Amritsar," said Bakshi.
You have played truant with the citizens of this city and disappeared without fulfilling any of your promises.
You swore by the Golden Temple that you will never leave Amritsar and will do everything to provide young people with employment and make the city's roads as smooth as the cheeks of (Bollywood heroine) Preity Zinta.
You also promised us special status for the holy city, which you had dreamed of turning into Paris.
When you came here for the first time after being nominated by the BJP to contest in 2004, you rode into the city with fanfare on an elephant. However, when you disappeared, you did so silently and in an unceremonious manner. Nobody comes the way you did and nobody goes the way you did.
We appeal you to come out of hiding or the TV and explain to people if you are under any threat. If you are unhappy with something, spell it out.