Navjot Singh Sidhu's advisor quits amid row over Kashmir remarks
Malvinder Singh Mali on Friday quit as an advisor to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu amid a controversy over his remarks. A day earlier, the party's Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat had threatened to dismiss Mali and Pyare Lal Garg, another advisor to Sidhu. Both Mali and Garg had made controversial comments about Pakistan and Kashmir.
'I withdraw my consent for advising Sidhu'
In a press statement, Mali said, "I withdraw my consent given for tendering suggestions to Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu." He has blamed several leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, party MP Manish Tiwari, Shiromani Akali Dal's (SAD) Sukhbir Badal, and Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Raghav Chaddha if any harm is caused to him, according to NDTV.
You can read the press statement here
"I withdraw my consent given for tendering suggestions to Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu," writes Malwinder Singh Mali, Advisor to Sidhu pic.twitter.com/s8Eeg5EOkw— ANI (@ANI) August 27, 2021
Don't want people who embarrass the party: Congress
On Thursday, Rawat had said that the Congress does not stand by his and Garg's comments. "We have asked Sidhu to dismiss them. If Sidhu does not do that, I will. We do not want people who embarrass the party."
What were Mali's controversial remarks?
In Facebook posts, Mali had suggested that Kashmir is a separate state and both India and Pakistan are illegally occupying the region. He also shared a controversial sketch of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In that poster, Gandhi was seen holding a gun whilst standing near a heap of skulls. The tagline on it read, "Every repression is defeated."
CM Singh, Gandhis had objected to the comments
On Sunday, CM Singh had criticized Sidhu's advisors, saying their comments were "totally misplaced and antagonistic." He added the remarks were "potentially dangerous" to the peace and stability of Punjab and India, urging Sidhu to rein in them. Top party leadership in Delhi, including the Gandhis, also reportedly objected to the contentious statements by the advisors.
Power tussle between Sidhu and Singh continues
Sidhu was last month appointed the President of Congress's Punjab unit, despite strong opposition from CM Singh and his supporters. The apparent truce between the two leaders seems to be derailing again as several Congress MLAs and MPs have sought the CM's removal, ahead of next year's Assembly elections. However, the party leadership has made it clear that Singh will retain the top post.