Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday responded to the criticism levelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over his comments on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during a trip to Kartarpur Sahib.
The BJP hit out at the president of Congress’ Punjab unit after Navjot Singh Sidhu reportedly called Imran Khan his “elder brother” and alleged the grand old party sees terror groups like IS and Boko Haram in Hindutva but finds a “bhai jaan” in the Pakistan PM. It was a reference to Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s statement in his latest book.
A purported video of Sidhu being welcomed by a Pakistani official on behalf of the Pakistan PM has gone viral on social media in which the Congress leader is heard saying that Khan was like a “bada bhai” to him and that he loved him a lot.
“Let the BJP say whatever they want…” Sidhu later said.
Punjab minister Pargat Singh also defended Navjot Singh Sidhu’s remarks on the Pakistan PM.
“When PM Modi goes (to Pakistan) he is a desh premi (patriot). When Sidhu goes, he is desh drohi (traitor)…Can’t I call you a brother? We follow Guru Nanak Dev’s philosophy,” Pargat Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was a serious matter of concern for India and claimed that there was a larger design at work. Patra said it was a part of Congress’ appeasement politics as the party still believes that there is a section in India that will be happy with praise for Pakistan. There are no such people in India though, he added.
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Patra noted that Punjab is a border state where Pakistan tries to foment troubles and said it needs mature and patriotic leadership. Sidhu is not right for India and Punjab deserves better than him, he said.
The BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya also shared the video on Twitter.
“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?” Malviya posted.
India reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 17, ahead of Guru Nanak Jayanti and a number of pilgrims from Punjab, including politicians, have visited the place on the occasion of the Sikhism founder’s birth anniversary.
The Kartarpur Corridor Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district.