‘Unhappy’,but ‘satisfied’ Sidhu calls off fast

Move comes after assurances by Badal on completion of ‘pet projects’.

Written by Express News Service | Amritsar | Updated: March 14, 2014 12:52 pm

When he reached the Circuit House here on Saturday,he was wearing the same attire,turban and tie that he wore yesterday when he arrived in Amritsar to announce his fast unto death. What was different today was that “disgruntled” BJP Member of Parliament from Amritsar Navjot Sidhu today called off his fast unto death after his demands for Amritsar’s development works were “met” by the Chief Minister. Sidhu flaunted a packet containing papers in which,according to him,the CM gave a detailed account of getting his pet projects completed in a time-bound manner.

The other difference was that yesterday he avoided the media and spoke through his press statement. Today he was there in person.

“I am not happy but I am satisfied. I welcome it,” Sidhu said,reasoning that he was not happy that as an MP he had to announce a fast unto death before his demands were met,but was satisfied because it was not his personal fight but one for Guru Nagri Amritsar.

“Amritsar first” was the punch line of Sidhu who said he had “no ego”.

Sidhu listed in detail the time-bound manner in which,according to him,CM assured to complete or start work on his projects. Expressing satisfaction over the timeline by and large,he expressed reservation over the project relating to installation of CCTV cameras,saying he wanted be completed earlier than the promised nine months. “But,I think the government has its own constraints to implement the projects,” he added.

Choosing his words carefully,Sidhu said he was putting his

fast unto death on the “backburner” following “timely

assurances by the Chief Minister. He,however,did not forget to invoke Sidhuism when asked by the media about his next course of action if government failed to live up to promises made to him. “I often say that if my aunt had moustaches,I would have called her uncle,” Sidhu said,implying that he did not want to respond to ‘if type’ questions. He emphasised that he believed in the assurances given by deputy CM Sukhbir Badal and was “thankful” to “father-like” CM Badal.

Sidhu said he would continue to remain committed for Amritsar and lobby for more projects. Calling Amritsar a Centre of Punjabiat,Sidhu sought special status for holy city and said the state government should make efforts for that. He added that if the same was not achieved the state should throw the ball into Centre’s court.

In an apparent reference that he was not kept in the loop on important issues,Sidhu said,“When an MP is not involved in the decision-making process,it is an insult to democracy.”

His heart beats for comedy shows,cricket: Raj Kumar Verka

Amritsar: Senior Congress leader and vice chairman of National SC/ST Commission Raj Kumar Verka today hit out at BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu for “resorting to one drama after another”. He was reacting to Sidhu’s move in first announcing and then backtracking from his decision to sit on ‘fast unto death’ for the development of Amritsar.

In a press statement,Verka said Sidhu was “never serious about the development of the city and had been working to fulfill his self interests of protecting his dwindling political career by hook or crook”.

He said they would have “welcomed” Sidhu sitting on fast for the city’s development but “it was not development on his agenda but a dramatic exercise to stay in the news”. He said,“Sidhu is yet to answer why he remained absent from the constituency for most part of the term”.

He said,“Sidhu’s heart is in TV comedy shows and cricket and he was merely fooling the people with one drama after another”. He said “there were no preparations at the fast site,no tent was erected and no arrangement of any kind was made for him to sit on dharna”. “He is a perfect actor and enacted the drama with precision to achieve his personal interests,’’ said Verka.

He said he had planned to extend all help to Sidhu for the fast unto death because the city needed development and the area was being ignored. “Sidhu has failed as MP. His records of attendance,the questions he raised in Lok Sabha and debates he took part in,speak volume of his failure as MP,” said Verka.

Support from unexpected quarters

Amritsar:The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today said that the threat of fast unto death by BJP MP Navjot Sidhu in protest against stalling development projects in his constituency had “underlined the charge of Congress party that SAD-BJP government was discriminating with the Majha region in matters of development”.

In a joint statement issued here,the Punjab PCC vice-president O P Soni,MLAs Ashwani Sekhri,Charanjit Kaur Bajwa,Aruna Chaudhary,Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa MLA,Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Ramanjit Singh Sikki said even though Sidhu had withdrawn his decision to go on fast unto death after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal gave assurance of “fair dealing”,the issue of “discrimination with Amritsar and other Majha districts is still alive”.

The Congress leaders said it was “unprecedented in Punjab’s political history and shameful for the ruling SAD-BJP alliance that a ruling party MP was forced to take such an extreme step to seek attention of his party’s government”.

They said it was “unfortunate that an elected representative was dealt with such contempt and it reflects the arrogant and undemocratic attitude of Sukhbir Badal”. They alleged that “all MPs and MLAs in Punjab who try to raise public issues,particularly from the opposition were mistreated and discriminated by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister”.

The Congress leaders said that Amritsar was “a holy city,the highest seat of Sikh religion and center of spiritual awakening for all religions and it is shocking that state government headed by a Sikh Chief Minister has blocked development of this city”. Congress leaders demanded an explanation from the Chief Minister about the political compulsions behind delay in starting the development projects.

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