Pakistan PM asked me to reinstate Sidhu as minister: Amarinder
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday claimed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had lobbied for his arch-rival and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu. He said Khan had sent a message to him, requesting him to reinstate Sidhu as a minister in his cabinet, in 2019. Singh had himself quit the Congress last year and formed a new party.
- Sidhu, once a tourism minister in Singh's cabinet, had resigned from the post amid a fallout with the former CM.
- After that, he garnered wider support within the party eventually causing the ouster of Singh as CM.
- Singh has since formed his own party called Punjab Lok Congress and partnered with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the upcoming Assembly elections.
"I got a message from Pakistan that he is an old friend of their Prime Minister and he would be grateful if you can keep him in the government. If he (Sidhu) doesn't work, then you can remove him," Singh said at a press conference. Reacting to the comment, Sidhu told reporters, "I do not want to comment on someone who's a spent force."
In the past as well, Singh has accused Sidhu of maintaining close ties with the Pakistan PM and other leaders from the country. His allegations had escalated after Sidhu visited Pakistan to attend the oath ceremony of Imran Khan and was seen hugging Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. He has labeled Sidhu as "pro-Pakistan" and a "disaster" for Punjab.
On Monday, Singh and other leaders announced a seat-sharing arrangement for the Punjab polls. Elections in the northern state are due to be held in a single phase on February 20, and results will be declared on March 10. The Congress is fighting to retain power while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Akali Dal are looking to dethrone the party.