Sidhu’s move on Pak visit causes disquiet in Cong - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Sidhu’s move on Pak visit causes disquiet in Cong

Sidhu’s move on Pak visit causes disquiet in Cong

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 5

There is growing consternation in the Congress over party MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu deciding against applying for inclusion in the Indian group of pilgrims to Kartarpur, but insisting on Central clearance to honour Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invite to attend the inauguration of the corridor.

Breaking his silence on the matter for the first time today, PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar told The Tribune, “A show of solidarity on everyone’s part would have been better for the occasion, which is all about harmony. We are celebrating the life and teachings of Guru Nanak. One would have preferred a display of unity by all, including the Punjab MLAs.”

Jakhar was responding to The Tribune query on how he as state party chief viewed the fact that Sidhu did not apply to be part of the group of 575 pilgrims, which India earlier sent to Pakistan, but has written to the Ministry of External Affairs for approval to travel to Pakistan on Pakistan PM’s invite.

Sidhu did not sign the application the state government sent to all MLAs through respective DCs.

“This is not a time of one-upmanship,” said Jakhar, stressing that the need of the hour was to come together as one. Jakhar also referred to former PM Manmohan Singh politely declining the official Pakistan invitation to attend the inaugural event and choosing to be part of the first jatha of Indian pilgrims that will attend corridor inauguration on November 9.

Within the Congress, sources hoped Sidhu’s stance would no longer affect the party politically as he was acting in individual capacity like he did when he attended the swearing-in of Imran Khan and later publicly hugged the Pakistan army chief.

A senior Punjab leader, however, said, “What’s worrisome is that if Sidhu had to go to Pakistan, why not go with the Indian group of pilgrims, why go otherwise?”

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