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He Should Not be in Cabinet: BJP, SAD Slam Sidhu for 'Disobeying' CM Amarinder on Pak Visit

Sidhu had crossed over to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border on Tuesday to take part in ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.


Updated:November 28, 2018, 9:48 PM IST
He Should Not be in Cabinet: BJP, SAD Slam Sidhu for 'Disobeying' CM Amarinder on Pak Visit
File image: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP on Wednesday slammed Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for "disobeying" Amarinder Singh on visiting Pakistan despite the chief minister telling him to reconsider his decision.

Sidhu had crossed over to Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border on Tuesday to take part in ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.

The opposition parties said Sidhu had no right to be in the cabinet when he could not stand with his chief minister on a particular issue.

"It is quite strange that Sidhu is disobeying his chief minister. If he cannot respect the feelings of his CM then he should not be in the cabinet. If you disagree with your boss, then you have no right to be under the chief minister's command," Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said here.

Amarinder Singh on Tuesday had said he had asked Sidhu to reconsider his decision on going to Pakistan for the ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor.

The chief minister had said he acceded to Sidhu's request as he did not believe in stopping anyone from undertaking a "personal visit".

Akali leader Cheema, a former education minister, said either the chief minister should throw Sidhu out of his cabinet or Sidhu resign on his own.

The SAD also asked Amarinder Singh to explain why his cabinet minister Sidhu went to Pakistan and exchanged pleasantries with the Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa whom he had threatened with repercussions for promoting terror activities in state.

In a statement here, Akali leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said it was "revolting" that Sidhu did not only shake hands with the Pakistan army chief but also exchanged pleasantries with him.

"Sidhu apparently did not even heed his own chief minister's advice on this issue and did not tell Gen Bajwa to stop terrorist activities in Punjab in his speech on the occasion," said Grewal.

The SAD leader said now it was up to the chief minister to take action against Sidhu because he had not only "defied" his advice of not to visit Pakistan, but had also "chummed up" with the same Pakistani general again.

Amarinder Singh on Monday at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district had hit out at the Pakistan army chief for promoting terror activities in Punjab and killings of Indian soldiers, warning the Imran Khan led dispensation of serious consequences if it did not put a stop to the violence perpetrated against India.

BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh also lashed out at the cricketer-turned-politician for "defying" the chief minister.

"Sidhu is such a minister who does not listen to his own chief minister," Chugh said.

"A minister is a part of the cabinet and it is the chief minister who takes a call on state policies. When the CM told Sidhu to reconsider his decision of going to Pakistan, then he should have agreed to it," he said.

Chugh hailed Amarinder Singh for declining the invitation of Pakistan government to attend the ceremony.

"Knowing well that Pakistan is killing our soldiers on borders and is also trying to revive terrorism in Punjab, Sidhu's decision to appreciate Pakistan and his eagerness to join the function in Pakistan puts a question mark on his credentials as a true Indian," the BJP leader said.

However, Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema hailed Sidhu for initiating talks with his friend and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for opening of the Kartarpur corridor.

"Amarinder is feeling insecure over the rising stature of Sidhu and therefore, he is making such statements," Harpal Cheema said.

The Punjab chief minister had earlier declined Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's invitation to attend the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor on the other side of the border, citing continued terrorist attacks in his state and killings of Indian soldiers by Pakistan armed forces.

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