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CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s appearances on TV has forced the state government to sit up and seek legal opinion on whether a Cabinet minister can work in television or not. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh told a national channel Monday that he would seek legal opinion on the issue from the Attorney General of Punjab. Later, his spokesperson Raveen Thukral told The Indian Express, “The CM has said that the government will seek legal opinion from AG. We will check whether there is any legal hindrance in his working on TV. If it turns out to be an office of profit, he will speak to Sidhu.”
Sidhu’s appearance in a TV show has snowballed into a controversy ever since he took over as local bodies minister in Amarinder’s Cabinet. Sidhu, however, told the Indian Express earlier on Monday, “It is not an office of profit. It is totally a private venture. If appearing in a TV show was a problem, then Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, who appears in India’s Got Talent show, would have been suspended.”
He added, “On a Monday, I am sitting in my office. I will be here till Friday. On the weekend, I will be with my electorate in Amritsar. Now, what I do at night is nobody’s business. I am not partying. I am not doing dhandha (business) of buses. I am not doing dhandha of politics like Sukhbir Singh Badal.”
Sidhu also said he just required a few hours for the shooting of the show that is telecast only once a week. “Where is the problem if I am leaving my office at 5:30 pm to take a flight to Mumbai and coming back the next day to be in my office by 9 am?” he asked.
Only on Sunday, Sidhu’s wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu had taken to Facebook to say that her husband was spending only four to five hours for the shooting. It was not affecting his official work.
Sidhu has found much needed support in Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who told the media on Saturday, “If Manpreet Badal is not required to quit agriculture, why should Sidhu be asked to quit his TV show. It is his bread and butter.”