Relief, celebrations and congratulatory messages marked the day for Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu after he was acquitted of culpable homicide charge by the Supreme Court in a 1988 road rage case. While his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu celebrated with song and dance and sweets at the couple’s residence in Amritsar, the minister’s official bungalow in sector 2 of Chandigarh was abuzz with activity.
AICC president Rahul Gandhi was among the first to send him a congratulatory text message. Priyanka too called him up later and congratulated. CM Amarinder Singh, who tweeted a congratulatory message for him, also called him up personally. Among others who visited him today was PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar and Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa.
Sidhu later called on the CM at the latter’s residence before leaving for Delhi to meet Rahul tomorrow. “I am going to meet Bhai,” he said referring to Rahul. “I am feeling relieved. More so, I am feeling humbled. It is unimaginable that there are people who you have never met and they are praying for you They are praying for me in a Pakistan gurdwara and organised an Akhand Path. That’s very touching. I am thankful to all those who prayed for me. I am actually thankful to those who wanted me to survive this battle,” he said.
Sidhu said he woke up at 3 am Tuesday as usual, prayed and played with his three dogs, who are like children to him. Was he nervous? “Not at all. You will never see me cribbing. You will never ever see me becoming a bechara in life. I am strong enough to carry my burdens on my shoulders. I am fighting for bigger issues. I am fighting against corruption. I am fighting for the resurrection of Punjab.”
Did he have any hard feelings at the way Punjab government submitted to the Supreme Court that his sentence should be enhanced? “No hard feelings. Every adversity has made me 10 times stronger. Character is not made in a crisis. It is exhibited. I have never looked for sympathy during trying times. In good times, I have always stayed humble, bowed down to those who have been friends but in tough times I have the tenacity to get over a situation because the recitation of God’s name is within me and the love of people,” he said.
His message for the victim’s family? “It was an accident. Nothing else. The rest is all said in the judgment that comes from the majesty of the law. I bow to the judges.”
In Amritsar, his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a former MLA and currently Chairperson of Punjab Warehousing Corporation, said she was happy her husband was not convicted under section 304 and she danced along with her daughter Rabia in celebration. Sidhu’s supporters also joined her.
“It is a moment of celebration and victory not only for us, but also for every person who thinks he or she can’t get justice. But we should keep hope alive. There are good policemen, good politicians and good judges. We should keep hope alive. We should keep faith in God too,” she told mediapersons.
Kaur alleged that the victim’s family was instigated by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal to pursue the case against Navjot Singh Sidhu. “The family didn’t want to pursue case. It was Sukhbir who instigated them.”