Shatrughan Sinha defends Navjot Singh Sidhu on hug controversy
Under attack for hugging Pakistan's Army Chief, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu received support from BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha who said Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi had hugged their Pakistani counterparts during their visits to that country. Sinha said Sidhu had already made himself clear on the issue and added, "I don't think there is any scope for any controversy." Here's more.
Sinha says even PM Modi and Vajpayee hugged Pakistanis
"I have already said our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his visit to Pakistan had hugged his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif," Sinha, a Member of Parliament, said in Kolkata yesterday. "Our present Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also hugged Nawaz Sharif during his visit. I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion," Sinha added.
What was the controversy?
Sidhu, who was in the BJP, joined the Congress in January last year ahead of the Assembly Election in Punjab. The cricketer-turned-politician, visited Pakistan last week for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan's Prime Minister. But a photo grab of him hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the function landed him in a controversy back home.
Sidhu has defended hugging Pakistan's Army Chief
Sidhu has defended his action saying that he got caught in the moment after hearing that Sikh pilgrims might get access to a shrine across the border. Sinha expressed sadness over several incidents under present NDA dispensation which, he said, indicated that the democratic institutions of the country were under threat. Sinha said he tried to "act as a mirror" for BJP party.
Country is bigger than the party, says Sinha
"When people say that I speak against my party or the government, it is not speaking against them. I have received my training from leaders like Nanaji Deshmukh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani," Sinha said. "I have learned from them that the party is bigger than the individual and country is bigger than the party," he added.