Congress on Monday asked Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to speak ‘cautiously’ regarding senior party leader and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Sources said Sidhu has been conveyed by the party that he cannot defy or speak against his boss Amarinder Singh prompting him to respond by calling the Punjab Chief Minister a "fatherly figure".Captain is your boss, Congress tells Sidhu.
"You don't want to wash dirty linen in public. He (Captain Amarinder Singh) is a fatherly figure, I love him, I respect him, I will sort it out myself," Sidhu said when asked by media in the midst of election campaign in Rajasthan.
Sources said the comment followed the Congress’ stern caution to the former Indian skipper. The outspoken cricketer-turned-politician has been told categorically that Captain Amarinder Singh's writ is important and he should not speak against him.
Differences within the party cadre escalated as Sidhu insisted on travelling to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, in what became his second trip across the border. Earlier he attended cricket legend Imran Khan's oath-taking as Pakistani Prime Minister. Amarinder Singh had said that he had tried to talk Sidhu out of it, but had been told that he had made a commitment.
The issues has come to the fore after Amarinder Singh declined Pakistan's invitation to attend the Kartarpur ceremony, citing Islamabad's continued support to terrorism in India and later expressed his unhappiness over Sidhu's visit. Sidhu, however, later said that Amarinder Singh is like a father figure and added that this is not the first time he has gone without informing.
Offering open support to the Captain, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu have put up hoardings across Ludhiana that read, 'Punjab da captain, sadda captain'.
According to Bittu the hoardings that has images of Amarinder, Bittu and Ashu are meant to "clear misunderstanding" in minds of people like Sidhu who have forgotten that "the people of Punjab elected Amarinder Singh as the captain of Punjab. Addressing a Press conference in poll-bound Hyderabad last week, Sidhu had said Congress president Rahul Gandhi was his captain and Capt Amarinder Singh was "an army captain".
On being asked why he chose to ignore the advice of his captain to visit Pakistan, Sidhu said, "Which captain you are talking about. Oh… Captain Amarinder Singh. He is Army Captain. My captain is Rahul Gandhi. Captain's captain is also Rahul Gandhi."
Miffed over Sidhu's comments on Amarinder, a fellow Cabinet Minister in Punjab, sought his resignation from the State Cabinet.