Sidhu defiant after contentious Pulwama comment, Akalis demand his sacking | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sidhu defiant after contentious Pulwama comment, Akalis demand his sacking

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By
Feb 16, 2019 09:58 PM IST

Navjot Sidhu said that he won’t be cowed down by trolls for his comments on the Pulwama attack but the Akali Dal and the BJP have demanded that the Congress expel him from the party..

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday put Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in its line of fire for his comments on the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers and asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to expel him from the party “for maintaining Pakistan could not be held responsible for the attack.”

Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has landed in another controversy with his comments on Pulwama terror attack.(HT PHOTO)
Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has landed in another controversy with his comments on Pulwama terror attack.(HT PHOTO)

“It seems Sony TV and ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ organisers are more patriotic than the Congress, which is sitting mutely while its senior minister bats for Pakistan and its terror machine. I want to ask Rahul if he will sit quietly and bear the insult meted out to the country and its soldiers by Sidhu. Sidhu should be sacked promptly or Indians will surmise that his statement was made at the directions of Rahul,” former minister Bikram Singh Majithia told mediapersons after reports emerged that Sony TV had dropped the former cricketer and commentator from ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ following his controversial remarks on the Pulwama attack.

The BJP’s Punjab chief and Rajya Sabha member Shwait Malik called Sidhu a “traitor” and urged all Indians to boycott him socially.

“Sidhu has been living in India but continually praising Pakistan and its Prime Minister. The whole country is mourning the death of soldiers but Sidhu has been favouring Pakistan. Why doesn’t he shift there permanently?” said Malik, while asking Rahul Gandhi to sack him from the party.

Sidhu said he has no comments to offer on reports that he has been dropped from ‘The Kapil Sharma Show.’

But sources close to Sidhu said no one from Sony TV or the show has spoken the minister. “Since Sidhu was busy in Punjab’s budget session this week, actor Archana Puran Singh shot two episodes. No one linked with the show has spoken to Sidhu about ending his association with it,” a close aide of the former cricketer and commentator said.

The reports emerged as #BoycottSidhu #BoycottKapilSharmaShow and #BoycottSonyTV were trending on Twitter and BJP leaders took to Sidhu-bashing during television debates.

The minister had told reporters on Friday: “It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished. But can a few terrorists stop a nation’s development or aspirations of 12 crore followers of Guru Nanak for a corridor to Kartarpur.”

Earlier on Saturday, Sidhu said that he won’t be cowed down by trolls as he came under fire on social media. “I will not be cowed down by trolls and media houses controlled by the BJP. Everyone knows who is behind all this (Sidhu bashing).”

But no one from the Congress has batted for Sidhu. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who had supported Sidhu after his hug to Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa during Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony in August last year sparked a controversy, said he would not like to comment on Sidhu’s remarks. “Whether Sidhu has been removed from ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ has nothing to do with the party,” he said.

Jakhar chose to echo the views of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh that peace and terror cannot go hand in hand. “Pakistan has to realise that it cannot provide a safe haven for terror groups and talk peace too. The NDA regime has the intelligence and diplomatic inputs to ensure such acts are not repeated,” Jakhar said.

When contacted, Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala too did not comment. But a party senior leader said there was nothing wrong in what Sidhu said. “The BJP is creating a furore as it wants to stop Sidhu from campaigning against it in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. To mix his professional commitments with his political statements is wrong. Sidhu’s remarks were made in context of the Kartarpur Corridor,” the leader said, requesting anonymity.

Amarinder, who had criticised Sidhu for hugging General Bajwa and refused to accept Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invite for groundbreaking ceremony in Pakistan and snubbed Sidhu for doing otherwise, has so far not reacted to his minister’s statement.

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