Navjot Sidhu had abandoned mother for money, claims 'sister' Suman
Suman Toor, a woman claiming to be Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu's sister, described him as a "cruel person" at a press conference in Chandigarh on Friday. She alleged Sidhu had driven her and their mother out of the house in 1986 after the death of their father. He did that for the "sake of money," she told reporters.
Why does this story matter?
The accusations might be seen as a blow for Sidhu's public image, just weeks ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections. Over the past year, Sidhu has been involved in a power tussle with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as well as current CM Charanjit Singh Channi. He is presently hoping to be announced as the Congress party's CM face for the upcoming polls.
'Sidhu deserted mother for sake of money'
"My father had left assets including a house (and) land besides pension," Toor said at Friday's presser. "Sidhu deserted my mother for the sake of money. We do not want any money from him," she added. "We have seen very tough times. My mother was in the hospital for four months." She further claimed she possessed "documentary evidence" of her claims.
Mother died 'as a destitute' at railway station: Toor
Toor also said Sidhu had lied about the separation of their parents in an interview in 1987. "Whatever Sidhu is claiming about my parents is false." "My mother had approached the court after Sidhu had claimed there was a judicial separation between her and our father," she added. She claimed her mother died "as a destitute" at a railway station in Delhi in 1989.
'Sidhu has blocked my phone number'
Toor further told reporters she had gone to meet Sidhu at his residence on January 20. "I was compelled to address a press conference after attempts to contact Sidhu failed. He has blocked my phone number. His servants also do not open doors. I want justice for my mother," she said. "Revealing these things about our family is really tough."
You can watch the press conference here
'Don't know her,' says Sidhu's wife
Sidhu's father was cricketer Balwant Sidhu. In old interviews, he had claimed his parents got separated when he was two years old. While the 58-year-old politician has not commented on the allegations yet, his wife said she did not know Toor. "His father had two daughters with his first wife. I don't know them," Navjot Kaur said on Friday when asked about the accusations.
When are elections due in Punjab?
Elections in Punjab are set to be held in a single phase on February 20 and results will be declared on March 10. The state is set to witness a multifaceted contest among several political parties. The ruling Congress is fighting to retain power even as the Aam Aadmi Party, the Akali Dal, and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Punjab Lok Congress alliance pose a challenge.