In the verbal war on Operation Bluestar, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal fired a fresh salvo against the Congress on Sunday, saying that it had sent Captain Amarinder Singh (as Lok Sabha candidate) to Amritsar “to rub salt into the wounds of Punjabis”.
The CM was addressing a campaign rally that state revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia had organised here. “Everybody knows that Indira Gandhi was prime minister during Operation Bluestar and later her party was involved in riots. The same Congress has now sent Amarinder to Amritsar to disturb peace by raking up sensitive issues,” he said.
Evading a direct reply on Amarinder’s accusing him of being responsible for the military operation in 1984 to flush out armed militants from the Golden Temple, the CM said: “Whatever Captain is saying is a lie. He is against me since I once denied him party ticket. Why is he raising the issue after 30 years? Why didn’t he do it when he was chief minister?”
Seeking votes for BJP candidate Arun Jaitley, Badal said: “Punjab has always suffered under the Congress rule at the Centre and the past 10 years were no exception. Today, one of the most high-profile leaders (Jaitley) is contesting from Amritsar and we need to support him. He will get us important portfolios and projects.”
The CM said he was ready to form the truth commission that Amarinder had sought to know who was behind Bluestar. Jaitley accused the Congress of running away from one contest after the other. “In Punjab, even their ministers have pulled out,” he said.
After being dropped for fourth innings as MP, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has been advised to do running for the mentor who has replaced him.
The sitting parliamentarian has made it clear that he will not campaign in Punjab, as that is the wish of its chief minister. CM Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday asked him not to turn his back on ‘guru’ Arun Jaitley, new BJP candidate from Amritsar.
To Sidhu’s saying that Badal appealed to get him out, the CM replied: “I have nothing to do with the ticket allotment in the BJP. Sidhu’s saying that I played any role is wrong.” Claiming that the Akalis respected both Sidhu and his wife, he said: “Sidhu should remember that it was Jaitley Saab who brought him into the party. Today, when his guru is contesting, Sidhu cannot turn his back on him.”
Jaitley, also present, said he had made his views clear already. Asked if Sidhu’s joining his campaign would make any difference, Jaitley responded: “The result will tell.”
Sidhu had taken on the Akalis on the issue of development and even it was the Punjab CM who did not want him to contest. Hi wife, local legislator Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, had blamed state cabinet minister Bikram Majithia for the situation.
WE HELPED SIDHU WIN: MAJITHIA
Known for his sour ties with Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia claimed that the Akalis had a big contribution in Sidhu’s winning the LS election in 2009.
“He had lost the urban segment by more than 50,000 votes; it was the rural votes that made him win. He was nervous and the opponents were celebrating but when the results came out, it was Majitha segment that had got him a lead of 20,000 votes,” said the minister