Reacting to the statement by Navjot Singh Sidhu that he was “kept away” from Punjab by the BJP, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said the BJP owed an explanation to the people of Punjab on Sidhu’s “revelations”.
“It has vindicated our stand that the Akalis and the BJP are partners in the sins of omission and commission and perhaps they were apprehensive that he (Sidhu) might expose them. So they barred and gagged him,” Amarinder said in a statement.
He expressed surprise over BJP’s silence and refusal to comment on what Sidhu said. “Their silence only indicates that both the parties (SAD and BJP) have too much to hide and have been left dumbfound,” he said.
Reiterating that Congress doors are open for Sidhu, he said there was no disagreement within the party over inviting Sidhu to join the Congress as his family had a “long relationship” with the party and his mother had contested assembly elections twice on the Congress ticket while his father remained advocate general of Punjab during Congress regime in 1980.
In Delhi, Congress’ Punjab campaign committee chief Ambika Soni said it is “hard to digest why the BJP will not support a leader who has done well for the party from Punjab”.
“I think Navjot Singh Sidhu has told us the half truth... I think it must be told in open that Akali Dal is not allowing Sidhu to participate in Punjab politics,” said Soni.
Sidhu, who resigned from the Upper House last week, finally broke his silence and said he stepped down as Rajya Sabha MP because he was asked to stay away from Punjab.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Sidhu said, “I resigned from the Rajya Sabha because I was told that I will not head towards Punjab and will stay away from the state. How could Sidhu leave his state? How could I leave the people who enabled me to win the polls?”
“I am a true nationalist. No party is bigger than Punjab. Even a bird comes back to its nest. How can Navjot Sidhu leave his home, his people? I will always be there to ensure that Punjab benefits. I only want to serve Punjab and Amritsar. How can Navjot Singh Sidhu leave the soil he belongs to?” he added.
Sidhu represented Amritsar in the Lok Sabha between 2004 and 2014. However, he was asked to make way for party colleague Arun Jaitley during the 2014 general election; though Jaitley lost to Amarinder. Sidhu was sent to the Rajya Sabha in April this year. (with ANI inputs)