Local member of Parliament (MP) Navjot Singh Sidhu here on Thursday lashed out at the Punjab government, claiming that the 'stepmotherly' treatment he was subjected to made him feel like an opposition MP despite the Akali-BJP coalition being in power.
Referring to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sidhu said, "I have always respected Badal saab like my father, but I fail to understand why I have received such treatment. I feel like a car without an engine."
Sidhu, who was cold-shouldered by the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership on his return to his constituency on Wednesday after almost a year, said during a press conference, "Coalition dharma has forced me to remain silent, but I must say that there are some favoured MPs in the state," However, he took no names.
Alleging that several of his projects were stuck due to efforts to scuttle them, the MP said, "How is it possible that all projects are completed within six months when the assembly elections are around the corner and there are no funds now when the Lok Sabha polls are approaching?"
He asked the state government why it was favouring other places over Amritsar. "The Amritsar municipal corporation has no money. The Amritsar Improvement Trust has money, but it's not being spent on the city. The Trust has diverted crores of rupees meant for the city to Qadian (Rs 1.5 crore), Mansa (Rs 4 crore), Nawanshahr (Rs 3.2 crore), Kotkapura (Rs 6 crore) and Tarn Taran (Rs 3 crore)," the cricketer-turned-politician claimed.
Sidhu warned that if any more funds of Amritsar were transferred, he and his supporters would lock up the Trust office. "They can put me behind bars if they feel like it," he declared.
As mediapersons repeatedly asked Sidhu whether there was a conspiracy to sideline him, he said, "I will not speak against BJP or Akali leaders. You all know who are behind this. But I am committed to this city and have done a lot. I always remained silent, but now I have spoken only because some people have questioned my honour."
About his future plans, he said, "I am a true soldier of the party. I will do whatever the party orders me to do, even contest the polls. BJP and Akali workers are like my turban. I have respect for them."
Sidhu said it was due to his commitment that people had elected him thrice. "I tried hard, but various projects such as CCTV cameras to curb crime, a multipurpose sports park, visa centre, Bhandari bridge widening and city bus service are still in limbo," he lamented.
"Several projects were passed, and I went to Badal saab in this regard. However, I wonder why there is dearth of money for Amritsar and these projects," he added.
"An MP's job is to bring projects for his constituency, but when the old projects are stuck, how can I bring new ones," he asked.