When asked about chief minister Amarinder Singh's disapproval of his Pakistan trip, he said, 'My captain is Rahul Gandhi, he has sent me everywhere'
Punjab cabinet minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday said that he went to Pakistan for the Kartarpur Corridor ground breaking ceremony with the consent of his party's central leadership, even as Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh asked him to reconsider his decision.
"At least 20 Congress leaders asked me to go, central leadership asked me to go. Punjab CM is like my father, I told him that I had already promised them (Pakistan) that I will go," Sidhu was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
A day later, he backtracked and said 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,” he tweeted.
Here’s a look at Sidhu’s long-term rendezvous with controversy
When he said that Rahul is his ‘captain’
When asked about chief minister Amarinder Singh's disapproval of his Pakistan trip, he said, "My captain is Rahul Gandhi, he has sent me everywhere," referring to Amarinder Singh, popularly called "Captain”.
"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.
Sidhu's indifference to the CM's advice raised questions among netizens who saw it as an 'indirect attack' to Singh. Some speculated that he might be after the chief minister's seat, while many pointed a finger at the cricketer-turned-politician, accusing him of hypocrisy. Many Twitter users blamed Sidhu for often criticizing the Congress and the Gandhi family, taking a U-turn himself.
After the Congress reprimanded Sidhu that he cannot speak against Singh, he put out a clarification on Monday, saying that the Punjab Chief Minister a "fatherly figure".
"You don't want to wash dirty linen in public. He (Captain Amarinder Singh) is a fatherly figure, I love him, I respect him, I will sort it out myself," Sidhu told reporters in Rajasthan.
When he was spotted with a pro-Khalistani leader in Pakistan
Sidhu was photographed with Gopal Chawla, a pro-Khalistani leader, during his visit to Pakistan.
Sidhu claimed that he was photographed several times during his Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony visit and did not know who Chawla was.
"There was so much love in Pakistan that every day probably 10,000 pictures were being taken of me alone and with several people there (in Pakistan), I don't know who Gopal Chawla is,” he had said.
When he did not attend former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s funeral
In August, Sidhu skipped the funeral of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and went to the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan PM Imran Khan instead.
Vajpayee had inducted Sidhu into politics, and Sidhu used to call himself ‘Vajpayee sab da Sipahi” (soldier of Vajpayee).
When he hugged the Pakistan army chief
Sidhu stirred a massive row by hugging a man in Pakistan who is believed to be a villain in India: Qamar Javed Bajwa, the chief of army staff of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
He was at Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan as Prime Minister.
Saying that his visit to Pakistan was not political, rather was in response to a “warm invitation from a friend", Sidhu hit back at his critics saying that his hug with Pakistan Army chief was an emotional moment.
Sidhu was also criticised for sitting beside Pakistan occupied Kashmir "president" Masood Khan on the front row during the swearing-in ceremony.
When he said he relates more to Pakistan then South India
Sidhu raked up yet another controversy while speaking at a literature fest in Kasauli in October, where he said that he can relate to Pakistan more than South India.
While discussing cultural similarity between Punjab in India and Pakistan, Sidhu said that the culture is the same at both places.
"When I go to Tamil Nadu, I don't understand the language. There are just one or two words I understand. Not that I don't like the food, but I cannot have it for a long time. The culture is totally different. But if I go to Pakistan, they speak Punjabi and English and I can relate to them more," he had said.
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Last Updated Dec 3, 2018, 4:09 PM IST