Facing criticism from his own cabinet colleagues for “defying” Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday called the CM a “fatherly figure” and said that he will himself sort out the matter. “You don't want wash dirty linen in public. He (Capt Amarinder Singh) is a fatherly figure, I love him, I respect him, I will sort it out myself,” Sidhu told reporters in Rajasthan.
The feud started after the CM Amarinder Singh claimed that he had asked Sidhu to reconsider his decision to go Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor stone laying ceremony, but he (Sidhu) insisted on travelling saying that he had already made the commitment to his cricketer “friend” and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Punjab minister irked several Congress leaders and cabinet colleagues with his remark that not Amrinder Singh (also known as “captain”) but Rahul Gandhi was his captain.
“One person asked me not to go, but 20 others said I should go. My captain is Rahul Gandhi. He has sent me everywhere. Our captain's captain is Rahul Gandhi,” Sidhu jested when asked whether he had defied his chief minister.
Following Sidhu’s remark, several Punjab Cabinet ministers, including Rural Development and Panchayat minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Revenue and Rehabilitation minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, had demanded Sidhu's resignation as the local affairs and tourism minister.
Sidhu’s wife and former BJP MLA from Amritsar East, Navjot Kaur, came out in support of his husband and said that he has not committed any mistake as he called his captain to Rahul Gandhi and not Narendra Modi.
"He has not committed any mistake that he should resign. He has already said Capt sahib (Amarinder) is a father-figure to him. If outside Punjab, he said Rahul is the captain, what is wrong on that? He has not called (Narendra) Modi his captain. He is only calling Rahul his captain. And Capt Sahib's (Amarinder's) captain too is Rahul, isn't it?" Navjot asked.