Breaking his silence over the former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu's criticism of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia dubbed his outbursts as "signs of frustration" and advised him not to forget his past when the SAD helped him win polls.
The minister, who had been exercising restraint over the issue for the past several days, said, "The repeated outbursts of Mr Sidhu shock me. The vocabulary used by Sidhu is unfortunate. We can understand his grievances. We know that Sidhu was denied ticket for the Lok Sabha elections. But I think Sidhu must raise all the grievances before the BJP and only that party can address his issues".
Talking on the sidelines of a function, he said, "Why I am saddened is because Sidhu is the same person who once said that 'Je meri pagri di laaj kise ne rakhi hai te oh Akali Dal ne rakhi hai (If anyone has saved my honour, it's the Akal Dal)'. Today all these regular outbursts and not coming for election campaign of Mr Arun Jaitley (BJP candidate from Amritsar in Lok Sabha polls) and the kind of politics which is being played, indicate that there is much more than what meets the eye".
Reminding Sidhu of the support extended by the SAD to the BJP nominees in Amritsar in the past, he said, "No matter which candidate the BJP fielded, the Akali Dal supported him sincerely. In 2009 polls also, Sidhu won because of heavy lead from Akali Dal segments".
Asked about the fate of the SAD-BJP alliance, he said, "As far as the alliance is concerned, neither I have to decide on it nor Mr Sidhu. Senior leaders of SAD-BJP have been repeatedly saying that alliance is here to stay".
'BJP NEEDS CLARITY
Observing that there needs to be a clarity of thought in BJP, Majithia said, "The party must take notice of what all Sidhu is saying. When people like Mr Jaitley and (BJP chief) Mr Amit Shah have said that alliance cannot be broken, then they must take note of what Sidhu is saying. By making repeated attacks on the alliance partner (SAD), the Sidhus are challenging their own party and authority of party chief Amit Shah".
He pointed out that in the recent Haryana assembly elections also, it was only Sidhu who made outbursts against the SAD.
He asserted that the Akali-BJP coalition is far above the statements of the Sidhu couple. "Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee came together to form a coalition in tough times when there was a lot of mistrust between the two communities (Hindus and Muslims)," he added.
ON BLAME GAME BETWEEN SAD, BJP
When Majithia's attention was drawn to the Amritsar district SAD unit's charges of corruption against cabinet minister Anil Joshi and BJP's allegation that the Akali Dal is sheltering mafia rule in the state, Majithia said, "It was unfortunate."
He added, "It all started with the issue of garbage dump and this needs to be resolved".
He claimed that all the decisions of the coalition government in the state were taken in consultation with the BJP.
Sidhu's attacks on SAD
Sidhu has been targeting the SAD for quite some time. During the run-up to the Haryana assembly polls, he had accused the Akali Dal of 'looting Punjab' and also said that there were some 'dhanda karan wale log' (racketeers) in the party. He had gone all out against the SAD during the poll campaign in Haryana.
In his latest outburst at a function in Ludhiana on Sunday, Sidhu, without naming anyone, said, "Punjab vichon dushtan (demons) nu bhajaan da sama aa gaya (It's time to banish enemies from Punjab)".
He further said, "In Punjab, it is 90% mewa (benefits) and 10 sewa (service)."
Sidhu had also blamed the Badals in the past for ignoring Amritsar's development just to downsize him by scuttling his projects.