Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu said Rahul Gandhi is his captain. (File)
Navjot Singh Sidhu, already under criticism for his visit to Pakistan for the launch of the Kartarpur corridor project earlier this week, clarified that he didn't go there on the instructions of his party boss Rahul Gandhi.
"Get your facts right before you distort them, Rahul Gandhi Ji never asked me to go to Pakistan. The whole world knows I went on Prime Minister Imran Khan's personal invite.
On Friday, the cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister was asked about Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's disapproval of his Pakistan trip. "My captain is Rahul Gandhi, he has sent me everywhere," Mr Sidhu had replied, his reference to Amarinder Singh, popularly called "Captain", not lost on anyone. "Which captain are you talking about? Captain Amarinder Singh ji, he is an Army Captain. My captain is Rahul Gandhi saab... Captain saab's captain is Rahul Gandhi, my captain is Rahul Gandhi," he said.
Mr Sidhu said he was "patted on the back" by senior Congress leaders including Shashi Tharoor, Randeep Surjewala and Harish Rawat.
Navjot Singh accepted Imran Khan's invite and attended the Kartarpur corridor event in Pakistan.
The Congress leader, however, described the Punjab chief minister as a "father figure" to him.
Mr Sidhu's decision to accept the invite had created a political controversy. Amarinder Singh declined Pakistan's invitation citing the country's role in terror attacks in Pathankot and Amritsar. Mr Singh had said he asked Mr Sidhu to reconsider his decision.
At the Kartarpur corridor launch event in Pakistan, Mr Sidhu praised Imran Khan who was his contemporary in cricket two decades ago. "Mera yaar, dildaar, Imran Khan jive (may my friend Imran Khan thrive, live). He is a good friend who has delivered on his promise to establish the Kartarpur corridor," he had said in his speech.
Mr Sidhu, who was caught in controversy after hugging the Pakistan army chief during his last visit in August for the oath ceremony of Imran Khan, was seen by critics to hanker for credit in facilitating the Kartarpur corridor between the two countries, which will provide a road for Sikh pilgrims to a famous gurdwara across the border where Guru Nanak spent his final years.