Chandigarh: The BJP Tuesday objected the Punjab government’s withdrawal of security cover from three-time Amritsar MP, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
In a statement here, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Punjab unit president Kamal Sharma termed the development as “extremely unfortunate”.
Categorically stating that the “Punjab BJP did not endorse the decision taken by the government”, Sharma said: “There are so many political leaders and other personalities who have been given so much security, notwithstanding any such threat perception.”
“Sidhu is not only a former parliamentarian but an iconic personality and genuinely requires security cover. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should immediately intervene and issue orders for the reinstatement of the security to Sidhu,” he demanded.
The security withdrawal came just days after Sidhu aggressively campaigned for the BJP in neighbouring Haryana for the assembly elections, and openly criticised the Akali Dal for joining hands with the Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana.
The BJP runs an alliance government with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab. The alliance has been in power in the state since 2007. However, for the Haryana elections, the Akali Dal chose the INLD over the BJP.
Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and his brother-in-law and Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia had been at political loggerheads with Sidhu when he was the Amritsar MP (2004-2014).
At the behest of the Badals, the BJP fielded senior leader Arun Jaitley, who is now the union finance and defence minister, from the Amritsar seat in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Sidhu was replaced without assigning any reason.
An upset Sidhu did not enter Amritsar for campaigning. Jaitley lost the high profile election in Amritsar by over one lakh votes against former chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress. Jaitley’s defeat had left the BJP and Akali Dal embarrassed.