Tearing into Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday accused him of misleading people about Pakistan’s alleged assurance on allowing Sikh pilgrims direct access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, along the India-Pakistan border, next year. She also called the Congress leader an agent of the neighbouring nation.
The gurdwara is located on the site where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died on September 22, 1539.
“I think he is a new agent that Pakistan has found and they are using him as a puppet, and he is dancing to their tune. Let him dance and deliver to our people,” Harsimrat said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Sidhu had been criticised for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony in August.
“When he (Sidhu) returned he was shown black flags, everyone was angry that he went there and hugged someone who kills our people. Instead of apologising, he played with people's sentiments...He said he hugged General as he said Kartarpur corridor will be opened,” she said.“But the truth is, no Pakistani government has so far communicated anything on this...Everyone forgot that he (Sidhu) went to an enemy nation. Weeks have passed, but the Congress minister couldn't produce any document,” Harsimrat added.
On Monday, Sidhu met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and urged her to help initiate dialogue with Pakistan on the opening up of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Harsimrat, however, claimed that Swaraj "reprimanded" Sidhu for "messing up" the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and accused him of "misusing" the political clearance granted to him in visiting Pakistan recently to attend Imran Khan's swearing-in as prime minister there.
"External Affairs Minister (Swaraj) reprimands Navjot Sidhu for messing up Kartarpur Sahib corridor dialogue and misusing political clearance granted for private visit by hugging military chief responsible for killing our soldiers," Badal said.She also asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi if you would take action against Sidhu.
“I ask Rahul Gandhi that a minister of your party went to an enemy nation, betrayed our people and played with the sentiments of the Sikhs. Was this all done with your blessings? Will you take action against him or are you hand in glove with him?,” Harsimrat asked.
Giving details about the meeting with Swaraj, Sidhu on Tuesday said: “We had a detailed discussion during the meeting, explained to her about the necessity of opening of the Kartarpur corridor. A formal request should go from India's side. The EAM said to me, 'the draft is being prepared and I will write a letter’.”Sources said Sidhu met Swaraj along with another senior Congress leader and a former Rajya Sabha MP to discuss the issue with her.
(With PTI inputs)