Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday made a sensational allegation by claiming that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had messaged him requesting Navjot Singh Sidhu’s reinstatement as a minister in his cabinet. Singh, however, did not explain why he has been silent on a matter as serious as this for so many years.
In 2019, Sidhu had stunned everyone by resigning as a Punjab minister but heaped insult on Amarinder Singh by sending his resignation to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Singh said that he had ‘dropped’ Sidhu from his cabinet and the latter did not resign.
“I dropped Sidhu from my cabinet because the man was incapable. For 70 days he couldn’t prepare one file. Then two-three weeks later, I got a message from Pakistan to take Navjot Singh Sidhu back in the state cabinet. If he (Sidhu) doesn’t work, then you can remove him,” Singh was quoted by India Today as saying.
Singh said that the message ‘said the Pakistan PM has asked to take Sidhu into the cabinet.’
Both Sidhu and Singh were constantly at loggerheads for a long time even when both were cabinet colleagues in the Punjab government. What led to a war of words between the two was Sidhu accepting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation to travel to be present at his swearing-in ceremony.
Both Sidhu and Khan have played cricket for their respective countries against each other and are known to be good friends.
Singh had later said in an interview that he was against Sidhu visiting Pakistan but the latter defied his instruction.
The former chief minister, who is contesting the next month’s assembly polls with the BJP, had recently called Sidhu a ‘totally incompetent man.’
“When the Congress chief had told me (over five years ago) to check how Sidhu was, I had said this man is absolutely unfit to be a member of the Congress party. Yet they went ahead and inducted him,” he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Punjab goes to polls on 20 February with the counting of votes scheduled for 10 March.