Patiala, April 1
Soon after his release from the Patiala central jail on Saturday, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu slammed the Centre and the Punjab Government while alleging that a conspiracy was being hatched to impose the President’s rule in the state.
No cut in security
Even as Navjot Sidhu said he wasn’t bothered even if the government completely withdrew his security, a senior police official said, “There has been no change in his security. He still has a pilot escort and gunmen.”
Sidhu, who spent about 10 months in jail in a 1988 road rage death case after surrendering in court on May 20 last year, alleged that democracy was in chains and institutions had turned slaves in the country. “There is nothing like democracy in India today. Punjab is the shield of this country and attempts are being made to break this shield. A conspiracy is being hatched to impose President’s rule in Punjab,” he claimed while speaking to the media outside the jail.
Visibly charged up, the former Punjab Pradesh Congress president criticised the state government for allegedly delaying his release. He claimed that despite being intimated that he would be freed by 11.45 am, his release came around 6 pm. “The Bhagwant Mann government has stooped so low that they delayed my release by more than six hours. The motive was to ensure my supporters and the mediapersons leave by the time I walk out free,” he said.
Punjab is India’s shield and attempts are being made to break this shield. There is a conspiracy to impose President’s rule in Punjab. Navjot Singh Sidhu, Congress leader
The cricketer-turned-politician also attacked the Chief Minister Mann over the “rising” financial liabilities. “Due to Mann’s wrong policies, the government has been borrowing an additional Rs 25,000 crore annually against Rs 16,000 crore during the previous Congress regime,” he said. The 59-year-old said the Border Security Force was now placed 30 km inside Punjab and Mann did nothing. “You have bowed before the Centre to secure the release of grants for funding the freebies you have promised the people…. Free power, illegal mining and even the liquor policy are burdening the residents,” he said.
Hitting back, the ruling AAP leadership alleged that Sidhu was “behaving as if he had returned after winning a trophy for the country”. “He shouldn’t forget he is coming from jail after serving a sentence in a road-rage case,” they said.
Dressed in a black Pathani ‘kurta pyjama’ and black turban, Sidhu accused the Centre of playing divisive politics. “Debate and dissent are essences of democracy, but attempts are being made to suppress the opposition voice. Whenever dictatorship came in the country, a revolution came and today, the revolution’s name is Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Several Congress leaders and supporters had assembled outside the jail to accord Sidhu a grand welcome and they could be heard chanting ‘Navjot Sidhu zindabad’. After his release, Sidhu met his supporters and went straight to his ancestral house 26, Yadavindra Colony, Patiala. His wife Navjot Kaur, who underwent a surgery recently after being detected with cancer, did not visit the jail to welcome him.
A teary-eyed Navjot Kaur, who waited for Sidhu on the terrace of their house, said her “husband had always walked on the righteous path and worked for Punjab’s betterment”.
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