He is truly controversy’s child, as the latest row would show.
Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has once again created a furore by calling Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan his 'bada bhai (big brother)'. The Congress leader made the statement while interacting with the CEO of the Kartarpur project.
Navjot Singh Sidhu also said he has lots of love for the Pakistan prime minister.
The Punjab chief had crossed over into Pakistan to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on Saturday. The Punjab Congress chief travelled through the visa-free Kartarpur corridor and arrived back in India on Saturday afternoon. Speaking to reporters, Sidhu batted for opening the corridor for cross-border trade.
“I request that if you want to change Punjab’s life, we should open the borders. Why should we go through Mundra Port, a total of 2100-km? Why not from here (Kartarpur corridor), where it’s only 21-km (to Pakistan),” Sidhu was quoted as saying by ANI.
I request that if you want to change Punjab's life, we should open the borders (for cross-border trade). Why should we go through Mundra Port, a total of 2100 kms? Why not from here, where it's only 21 kms (to Pakistan): Punjab Congress chief Navjot S Sidhu, in Gurdaspur (Punjab) pic.twitter.com/fW4RZ4x53y
— ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2021
After his visit, BJP’s IT Cell head immediately took to Twitter slamming the Congress high command for ‘favouring Pakistan loving Sidhu over veteran Amarinder Singh’.
Rahul Gandhi’s favourite Navjot Singh Sidhu calls Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan his “bada bhai”. Last time he had hugged Gen Bajwa, Pakistan Army’s Chief, heaped praises.
Is it any surprise that the Gandhi siblings chose a Pakistan loving Sidhu over veteran Amarinder Singh? pic.twitter.com/zTLHEZT3bC
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 20, 2021
He wrote, "Rahul Gandhi's favourite Navjot Singh Sidhu calls Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan his "bada bhai". Last time he had hugged Gen Bajwa, Pakistan Army's Chief, heaped praises."
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also criticised the Congress and Sidhu for his comment, saying it was a serious concern.
News agency PTI reported that Patra claimed that there was a larger design at work, and Sidhu's comments were linked to a number of Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, criticising Hindutva.
Referring to Congress leader Salman Khurshid's statement in his latest book, Patra said the opposition party sees terror groups such as the ISIS and the Boko Haram in Hindutva while it finds a "bhai jaan" in Khan.
"It is being done for appeasement politics as the Congress still believes that there is a section in India which will be happy with praise for Pakistan. There are no such people in India though," Patra added.
Noting that Punjab is a border state where Pakistan tries to foment troubles, Patra said it needs a mature and patriotic leadership.
Sidhu is not right for India and Punjab deserves better than him, he said.
This is not the first time that Navjot Singh Sidhu has created a row.
In August 2018, Sidhu received a lot of flak, even from his then Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, for hugging the Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
— ANI (@ANI) August 18, 2018
At the time, Sidhu had said, "People like Khan Sahab (Imran Khan) create history. With this invitation, they have honoured me. People who build relationships are respected, people who break them are disrespected and I am one of those who respect relationships. It’s a new dawn. This government has come to change this country’s perception, picture and destiny, with high hopes and expectations.”
Amarinder Singh had dubbed Sidhu as 'anti-national' at the time.
In October of 2018, he once again raised eyebrows when he drew an unwarranted cultural analogy between Pakistan and South India.
Speaking at a literary festival in Kasol, Sidhu said, "If I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t understand the language. Not that I don’t like the food, but I can’t take it for long. That culture is totally different. But if I travel to Pakistan there is no difficulty. The language is the same and everything there is just amazing."
In 2019, the cricketer-turned-politician was dropped from The Kapil Sharma Show, allegedly over his remarks on the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
Sidhu had said: "It (the terror attack) is a cowardly and dastardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished.
However, he followed that up by saying, "For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?"
With inputs from agencies