"Respect Amarinder Singh, will sort it out with him," says Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu
Congress lawmaker Ravneet Singh Bittu on Saturday demanded an apology from party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for allegedly 'mocking' Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. "Punjab's Captain is our Captain," said Mr Bittu.
"All the streets in Ludhiana are filled with posters that say 'Punjab's Captain is our Captain. This is people's sentiment. Navjot Singh Sidhu should apologise. If he considers the Chief Minister his father, why is he hesitating to apologise," said Mr Bittu at a public meeting in Ludhiana.
In a strong rebuttal, Mr Sidhu, who is in Rajasthan said, "He (Captain Amarinder Singh) is a fatherly figure, I love him, I respect him, I will sort it out myself….You don't want wash dirty linen in public."
Mr Sidhu on November 30 had 'mocked' Captain Amarinder Singh, when reporters asked about his visit to Pakistan despite Captain Amarinder Singh disapproving it. A minister in the Punjab government, Mr Sidhu, at a press conference in Hyderabad had said, "My captain is Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He sent me everywhere (including Kartarpur corridor). Rahul Gandhi is also the Captain of our Captain (Punjab Chief Minister)."
Upset over Mr Sidhu's remarks, another state minister TR Bajwa claimed that if Mr Sidhu did not recognise Amarinder Singh as his 'Captain' then he should resign from his post. Water Resources Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria also slammed his cabinet colleague and said that Mr Sidhu should put in his papers if he disapproves of Amarinder Singh as the state's Chief Minister.
Not only did the clamour for Mr Sidhu's resignation grew louder, many in the ministry said that those who "disrespect Chief Minister Captain Amarinder should step aside from the Congress government in the state."
Mr Sidhu was one of the invitees, who went to Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 28. His speech at the inauguration on the Pakistan side created huge controversy in India as not only did he bring up row over the Rafale deal but also showered praises on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Rival Shiromani Akali Dal leader and union minister Harsimrat Kaur said after the Kartarpur corridor event that Mr Siddhu was "more popular in Pakistan than in India."