Pakistan PM had requested me to induct his 'old friend' Navjot Sidhu in my cabinet, says Amarinder Singh
Amid electioneering in high-stakes electoral battle Punjab, former state chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said on Monday that he got a request from Pakistan Prime Minister for "inducting" Navjot Singh Sidhu into his cabinet after he was removed due to "incompetence".
New Delhi: Amid electioneering in high-stakes electoral battle Punjab, former state chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said on Monday that he got a request from Pakistan Prime Minister for "inducting" Navjot Singh Sidhu into his cabinet after he was removed due to "incompetence".
Amarinder Singh, who has floated Punjab Lok Congress after resigning as Chief Minister in September last year, said the Pakistan Prime Minister in his request conveyed through a person "known to them" termed Sidhu as an "old friend" and said he could be removed if he does not work.
Though Amarinder Singh did not name the Pakistan Prime Minister, his apparent reference is to Imran Khan, whose swearing-in function Sidhu attended. Amarinder Singh had asked Sidhu, who is now Punjab Congress chief, to reconsider his decision to attend the function.
"Pakistan PM sent a request if you can take Sidhu into your cabinet I will be grateful, he is an old friend of mine. You can remove him if does not work," Amarinder Singh said at a press conference here. Amarinder Singh's Punjab Lok Congress is fighting the Punjab polls, to be held on February 20, in alliance with the BJP.
Amarinder Singh said he "removed Sidhu from the cabinet because he was incompetent, incapable and totally useless". "I think two-three weeks later I get a message from somebody we know, he knows and I know...that there is a request to take Sidhu (in cabinet) if possible. If he does not work, remove him," Amarinder Singh said.
Amarinder Singh had a bitter parting of ways with Congress and had hit out at Sidhu, who had been appointed state Congress chief by the party leadership. Sidhu, a cricketer-turned-politician, is seen to be an aspirant of the chief minister's post and there is an apparent tussle between him and Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Amarinder Singh and Sidhu had been at loggerheads earlier too and the tensions since increased after Sidhu went to Pakistan to be part of the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as Prime Minister though he had been advised to reconsider his decision. Sidhu hugging Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa led to a huge controversy and Amarinder Singh criticised him. Sidhu was later divested of Local Bodies Department and resigned as minister in Amarinder Singh government in June 2019. (ANI)