New Delhi: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was cornered in the Punjab Assembly on Monday ahead of the state Budget tabling, with Opposition leaders sloganeering against him over his recent ‘pro-Pakistan’ remarks in wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
Navjot Singh Sidhu was forced in the dock following his unconventional comments on Pakistan’s role in the Pulwama attack on a CRPF bus on February 14, which claimed the lives of 40 security personnel.
Sidhu was quoted saying that an entire nation (Pakistan) cannot be blamed for an act carried out by a handful of people. The senior Congress leader’s view not only enraged citizens nationwide but also invited massive criticism from political leaders. He was also dropped from a TV channel show with immediate effect.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday sought dismissal of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for his “utterances” in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack even as Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia and the cricketer-turned-politician exchanged barbs in the House.
Before the start of the Punjab Budget session, Akali leaders led by Majithia burnt the photographs of Sidhu including those in which he is seen hugging the Pakistan Army chief, outside the House.
Sidhu visited Pakistan to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, on August 18 last year.
“We want Sidhu to be thrown out of the cabinet for his utterances,” said former Akali minister. As the Question Hour commenced, SAD-BJP MLAs stood up and raised slogans against Sidhu.
SAD-BJP legislators, who were wearing black badges, also tried to disrupt the reply of Sidhu by shouting slogans against him.
Sidhu and Majithia were even involved in a verbal duel even as the Speaker asked them not to disrupt the Question Hour.
Later addressing the media, Navjot Singh Sidhu raised the 1999 Kandahar Hijack incident, wherein Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was released by the Indian government in return of release of hostages held in the Indian Airlines Flight 814.
Trying to placate the palpable anger on social media, Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday issued a clarification, “Nationalism is the highest religion and I stand by my nation”, he said. “I echo the sentiments of my country. India’s voice is my voice and I strongly stand by my party’s stand,” a Hindustan Times report read.
Meanwhile, from the film fraternity, actor Anupam Kher was among the front-runners mounting an attack on Sidhu, tweeting, “Sometimes when you talk too much, it can lead to you talking rubbish.”