BJP fumes as Sidhu’s security withdrawn
Amritsar, October 14
The move had the BJP fuming with party national secretary Tarun Chugh calling it a highly provocative step by the alliance partner.
“I condemn the decision taken by the Punjab Government. They (SAD) can’t expect us to keep quite if they continue to provoke us. It is the responsibility of both sides to maintain the alliance. Sidhu’s security issue has now become a matter of prestige for the BJP,” said Chugh.
Sidhu said the move symbolised the “Akali Dal brand of politics” in which rivals were either implicated in false cases or pressured in other manner. “They stoop so low whenever they don’t have the answers,” he said.
He revealed that he had asked the Punjab Government to take away his entire security cover when it was withdrawn partially after his tenure as Amritsar MP came to an end a few months ago.
Sidhu’s wife and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu said if anything happened to her husband, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal would be responsible for it.
"As per the protocol, an MP retains 40 per cent of his security cover after demitting the office, but that too has been withdrawn from my husband. Today small-time Akali leaders and even those indulging in illegal activities in Punjab boast of security cover and the government is withdrawing it from a three-time MP who is a senior BJP leader as well as a celebrity. Is this the democracy?” she asked.
She added it was quite obvious that the Akali Dal was settling the score with Sidhu after he spoke out against it during the poll campaign in Haryana.
Amritsar Police Commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said he was not aware about the withdrawal of security provided to Sidhu. He said nobody from Amritsar police was attached to his security.
Terming it as an unfortunate development, state BJP president Kamal Sharma asked the Chief Minister to immediately issue orders for the reinstatement of the security to Sidhu.
The Congress also criticised the government’s decision. Congress leader and MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said, “Sidhu is the latest victim of political vendetta by the Akali Dal, especially Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.” He added that Sidhu had paid the price for speaking truth and exposing the Akalis’ misdeeds.
On the other hand, Sukhbir’s media advisor Jangveer Singh said there was no question of withdrawing the security. “Security review exercises take various factors into consideration, including whether a protectee is staying in the state or not… The Deputy CM has directed the Punjab DGP that whenever Sidhu visits the state he should be given adequate security cover,” he said.
Rejecting Sidhu’s charge, Punjab Education Minister Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema said if the government was targeting those speaking against it then the security of Captain Amarinder Singh and Partap Singh Bajwa would have been withdrawn long ago. He added that the state government doesn’t act on bias.
Sidhu has been at loggerheads with top Akali leadership for the past one year. In Haryana recently, Sidhu accused SAD of backstabbing BJP. He said SAD didn’t deserve BJP’s support.
(With inputs from Jupinderjit Singh)