M A I N   N E W S

Akalis take up Sidhu outbursts with state BJP chief Sharma
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Cracks within the SAD-BJP combine in Punjab resurfaced today after the Akali leadership lodged a protest with the state BJP over anti-SAD remarks made by former MP Navjot Sidhu. Sidhu had yesterday accused the Akalis of “converting politics into a commercial venture”.

BJP top’s leadership, including Union Health Minister JP Nadda and state unit chief Kamal Sharma, however, tried to distance itself from Sidhu’s remarks calling these his “personal opinion”.

Sidhu, while addressing a function in Ludhiana on Sunday, had allegedly ridiculed SAD’s slogan “Raj Nahi Sewa” saying it was “only 10 per cent sewa (service) and 90 per cent ‘mewa’ (commercial gain)”. Without naming anyone, he reportedly said “time has come to root out corrupt leaders”.

Peeved at the remarks, SAD spokesperson and Education Minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema rang up state BJP chief Kamal Sharma this evening and told him that Sidhu was acting “against the spirit of coalition dharma”.

He said when the BJP’s national leadership had clarified that there was no rift between the two parties, there was no reason for Sidhu to speak against the SAD leadership.

“Sidhu’s remarks went against the line of BJP’s national leadership, which recently endorsed the continuation of alliance in Punjab. I have urged Sharma to take up the matter with the party leadership in Delhi,” said Dr Cheema. He also sought strict disciplinary by the party action against Sidhu.

Sharma, while talking to The Tribune, said: “Such outbursts are not good for any alliance. I got a call from Dr Cheema. I have apprised the party leadership of Sidhu’s comments,” he said.

Nadda, after paying obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar, said the SAD-BJP alliance “was as strong as ever”. Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Sidhu was “frustrated” over having been denied ticket from Amritsar during the Lok Sabha polls.

(With inputs from Perneet Singh & Neeraj Bagga)

The controversy

  • BJP leader Navjot Sidhu on Sunday allegedly ridiculed SAD’s slogan ‘Raj Nahi Sewa’, calling it “only 10% sewa (service) and 90% ‘mewa’ (commercial gain)”
  • SAD spokesperson Dr Daljit Singh Cheema called up state BJP chief Kamal Sharma saying Sidhu was acting ‘against the spirit of coalition dharma’
  • The BJP leadership distanced itself from Sidhu’s remarks saying the ‘party (the BJP) does not subscribe to his views’

SAD gathers video clips

  • SAD is mulling to hand over video clips of Navjot Singh Sidhu's remarks against the party to BJP president Amit Shah. Sources said SAD leaders were especially procuring video recordings of statements made by Sidhu in Ludhiana.





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