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Punjab minister seeks Sidhu's resignation

twitter-logoPTI | December 1, 2018 | Updated 17:32 IST

(Eds: Adds details, recasts intro) Chandigarh, Dec 1 (PTI) A Punjab minister Saturday sought Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation over his jibe at Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, even as the cricketer-turned-politician backtracked on his claim that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had sent him to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor event. On his election campaign trip to Hyderabad, Sidhu had said Friday that he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor as Gandhi had asked him to go. In an apparent snub to Amarinder Singh, a former Army captain, Sidhu told reporters there that he considered Gandhi his captain. "If he does not consider Capt Amarinder as his captain then he should resign on moral grounds from the cabinet and do whatever work is assigned to him by Rahul Gandhi," Punjab cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said. Sidhu's visit to the Kartarpur gurdwara had riled Amarinder Singh, who earlier said he tried to dissuade the state’s local bodies minister following a grenade attack in Amritsar that left three people dead. Meanwhile, Sidhu tweeted Saturday, "Rahul Gandhi didn't ask me to go, I went on (Pakistan Prime Minister) Imran Khan's personal invite." Bajwa, who is the state’s rural development and panchayat minister, said Amarinder Singh is “our captain in Punjab, he is our leader”. The minister demanded that Sidhu should seek an apology from the chief minister. "He will have to accept Captain sahib as his leader in Punjab," Bajwa said. "My advice to the younger brother is to speak less and concentrate on work. You need to be consistent and you should make it your habit," Bajwa said. Bajwa said Rahul Gandhi remained everyone’s “captain”, but he disapproved of Sidhu’s remarks about the chief minister. In Hyderabad, Sidhu was questioned by reporters on Punjab chief minister’s disapproval of his Pakistan trip. "Rahul Gandhi is my captain. It is he who sent me to Pakistan. Rahul Gandhi is the captain of the captain (Amarinder Singh) also," Sidhu had said. The Congress leader, however, described Amarinder Singh as a "father figure" to him. Since his return from Kartarpur, Sidhu has been criticised for lavishing praise on Imran Khan, who too showered special attention on him. He was also targeted over a photograph which showed him posing with Gopal Singh Chawla, the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee head who is considered pro-Khalistan. But Sidhu claimed “tens of thousands” of people wanted to take pictures with him in Kartarpur and he didn’t know Chawla. The Kartarpur corridor will connect the shrine in Pakistan to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Gurdaspur, across the border between the two countries. The planned corridor will give visa-free access to Indian pilgrims to the place where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, spent the last years of his life. PTI VSD ASH ASH

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