Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's jibe at the Chief Minister that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is the captain of Captain Amarinder Singh has not gone down well among his colleagues pushing them to demand his resignation. It has been a double whammy for the cricketer-turned-politician since there is already an outcry over his visit to Pakistan.
Minister of local bodies and tourism in Captain Amarinder Singh-led government, Sidhu at a press conference in Hyderabad on Friday, said: "Rahul Gandhi is my captain. It is he who sent me to Pakistan. Rahul Gandhi is the captain of the captain (Amarinder Singh) also."
Reacting to the statement, Punjab minister TR Bajwa asserted that if Sidhu did not recognise Amarinder as his 'captain' then he should resign from his post. "If he (Sidhu) doesn't recognise Captain sahab as his 'captain' then he should resign. Of course, Rahul ji is our India captain but Punjab's captain is Amarinder Singh. Sidhu sahab is an extraordinary person and has a long career ahead. He must choose words carefully," Bajwa said.
Echoing similar sentiments to the discourteous use of language, Punjab minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria said that Sidhu should put down his papers if he disapproved Amarinder as the state chief minister. "It did not look good when I saw the clip. The way he said this thing was not good. As far as our party is concerned, we all respect our president Rahul Gandhi and obey the commands. But when the Congress was made in Punjab, with the permission of party high command, Captain Amarinder Singh was made the Chief Minister. If Sidhu Sahab did not like this, then he should go," Sarkaria asserted.
The echo grew louder as Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu also viewed that those who disrespected Amarinder should step aside from the Congress government in the state. "In Punjab, Amarinder Singh is the captain and at national level Rahul Gandhi is the captain. There is a discipline in the Congress party and everything runs as per the rules. The person who will not consider Amarinder Singh as a captain, they don't deserve to be a part of our government in the state," Bittu said.
Sidhu was one of the invitees, who went to Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib corridor on November 28. His remarks at the event also created furore back home as he not only mentioned the Rafale deal controversy in his speech but also heaped praises on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Congress leader got embroiled in a controversy after a photograph with Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla went viral on social media.
In August, Sidhu had gone to Islamabad for the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the country's Prime Minister. That visit also racked up a controversy after Sidhu extended a hug to Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and sat next to the 'President' of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Masood Khan.