Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday indicated that Rahul Gandhi had sent him to Pakistan to attend the foundation-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, and that the Congress chief is his “captain”.
Asked whether Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tried to dissuade him from visiting Pakistan, Sidhu said Singh is like a father figure to him.
The former cricketer said, “Which Captain are you talking about? Captain Amarinder Singh-ji? Woh toh Army ke captain hain, bhai. Merey captain toh Rahul Gandhi hain. Unhoney hi toh mujhe bheja hai sab jagah (Amarinder Singh is Army Captain. My captain is Rahul Gandhi – he has sent me everywhere).”
Amarinder Singh had said that he tried to dissuade Sidhu, a member of his cabinet, from attending the event in Pakistan following a grenade attack on a religious congregation in Amritsar that killed three people. Singh has blamed Pakistan’s ISI for the attack.
On the controversy over his photograph with Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla, Sidhu said 10,000 people took selfies with him and he did not know the man. “When 10,000 people are taking selfies with you, how do you know who is Chawla? How? This is absolute rubbish. Last time when I went to Pakistan I was sitting with someone who was again controversial. Am I supposed to see where I sit? When you are going to another country, you are looked after by them. Anybody who comes to me…I don’t break hearts…(they) come and take a photograph.”
He said that the man identified as Chawla was seen “everywhere” during the trip, including with Union minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
In Chandigarh, BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh accused Sidhu of “changing colours like a chameleon”, and said that at this rate he may soon declare Imran Khan as his captain.
“Sidhu in the morning accepts Capt Amarinder Singh as his captain…but by the evening dumps him and claims Rahul is his captain…. It seems Sidhu’s lust for power will end with accepting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as his captain.”
— With PTI inputs