New Delhi: Congress leader and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has hugged a controversy and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is using it to its advantage. The point of contention is Sidhu embracing Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s Army Chief, during his recent visit to the neighbouring country. He was in Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as the prime minister.
Speaking to reporters, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “General Bajwa is a person who is responsible for the butchering of number of Indians and his glorification is condemnable. For Congress, our Army Chief is ‘sadak ke gunde’ (roadside bully) and Pakistan Army Chief is ‘sone de munde’ (golden boy).”
Earlier in the day, Sidhu, a former cricketer, reiterated that his visit to attend cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony as Pakistan’s Prime Minister was “just a warm invitation from a friend.”
Sidhu also added that his Islamabad visit was a tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that “Late Vajpayee ji had taken friendship bus to Lahore, invited Musharraf. Prime Minister Modi invited Nawaz Sharif to his oath-taking and went to Lahore unannounced.”
However, Patra said, “Diplomacy is the prerogative of the central government and cannot be outsourced. There is a sense of equivalence that Sidhu tried to draw between himself and the Prime Minister and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Such comparisons are condemnable.”
The BJP also raised the Doklam issue. Patra said, “While the central government was working on a strategy to resolve the issue, Rahul Gandhi secretly met the Chinese envoy during dark hours of the night. Congress president should understand and learn it graciously that they are out of power and cannot run a parallel government.”