Former Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh not to act “petty and spiteful” and give Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan the respect he deserves.
Reacting strongly to the statement made by Capt Amarinder Singh that he won’t meet Sajjan as he was a “Khalistani sympathiser”, the SAD president said, “Capt Amarinder should not have let a personal incident cloud his decision and he should have refrained from making disparaging remarks against Sajjan as well as all other Punjabi-origin representatives in the Canadian parliament.”
“Punjabis worldwide are proud of their elected representatives in Canada and Sajjan is an example of personal accomplishment for the entire Punjabi diaspora. He should not be disrespected in this manner.”
Sukhbir said taking such stands were counterproductive and would not augur well for Punjab and come in the way of trade and bilateral relations with Canada.
“One should learn from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was denied visa by the United States but that action did not make him bitter to that county. In fact, Modi has gone out of the way to improve relations between India and the US. Punjabis worldwide also expect Amarinder to behave in a similar fashion and show political statesmanship and use his office to improve relations with Canada and not ruin them. If the Union government is giving due respect to Sajjan, so should Capt Amarinder and the Punjab government,” he said.
“We had always accorded due respect to visiting dignitaries and even invited elected Punjabi-origin representatives from around the world for the NRI conclaves,” he said.