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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Navjot Sidhu invites PM Modi to debate, says would quit politics if he fails

Addressing a public meeting in Jharkhand’s Adityapur in support of the Congress’ Singhbhum candidate Geeta Koda, Navjot Sidhu spoke about the achievements of the Congress governments in the six decades that it ruled the country.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 01, 2019 09:27 IST
Manoj Choudhary
Manoj Choudhary
Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
lok sabha elections 2019,navjot singh sidhu,PM Modi
Congress leader Navjot Singh Siddhu addressing an election meeting at Adityapur in Jamshedpur April 30,2019-(Manoj Kumar / HT Photo )

JAMSHEDPUR

Navjot Singh Sidhu, former cricketer, Congress leader and a minister in the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab, on Tuesday invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a debate over his “so-called achievements” and challenged that he would take sanyas (retirement) from politics if he failed in the debate.

Addressing a public meeting in Jharkhand’s Adityapur in support of the Congress’ Singhbhum candidate Geeta Koda, the cricketer-turned-TV personality-turned-politician spoke about the achievements of the Congress governments in the six decades that it ruled the country and hit out at Modi for saying that the previous Congress governments did nothing. Sidhu’s counter-attack was that it was Modi himself who “did nothing”.

He said, “[Narendra] Modi did nothing other than protecting a few industrialists, including Ambani, Adani, and Modis. He has forced public sectors companies into losses; those were earlier making profits before he came to power. He has destroyed the Constitutional institutions that the Congress had protected since Independence. Modi did nothing but jumlebaazi. His followers can get fooled, but I would like to invite Modi to have a debate on his so-called achievements.”

Seeking votes for Geeta Koda, the former India cricketer said, “An industrialist like Anil Ambani was given the benefit of Rs 30,000 crore in the Rafale deal. Farmers are being sent to jail as loan defaulters, but industrialist Adani has taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh crore, but no action has been taken against him. Keeping the interest of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) aside, 4G licence was given to Jio. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has booked a loss of Rs 4,000 crore after Modi came to power. Jharkhand lost Rs 7,400 crore in revenue due to the PM’s faulty industrial policies.”

Speaking about the Congress government’s achievements, Sidhu said that India had started its space programme during the Nehru era, banks were nationalised by Indira Gandhi, the technological revolution was brought about by Rajiv Gandhi, and Pakistan was defeated three times. He also talked about the Congress governments’ contributions to the country’s green and white revolutions, making India self-reliant in food production.

Mocking Modi’s picth of ‘Rashtrawad’, Sidhu said that Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel’s statute was made by China, Rafale was being bought from France, and the bullet train would come from Japan.

The Congress leader said that three Modis had escaped from India after “plundering public money” from banks and the fourth Modi (the PM) was in the country “to spread false statements all around”. “He is the chowkidar of a couple of industrialists and not of the public. Bharatiya Janata Party is asking for votes in the name of Modi, the PM is demanding votes in the name of Army achievements, while an ex-Army man is seeking votes against Modi,” said Sidhu.

First Published: May 01, 2019 09:22 IST