Sidhu stays away, writes third letter to MEA demanding Kartarpur crossover on Day 1

Kanchan Vasdev
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This is the second such session Sidhu has skipped in a row ever since he resigned from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was conspicuous by his absence at the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s special session to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Wednesday. However, he shot off a third letter to the Ministry of External Affairs demanding that he be should be allowed to use the Kartarpur Corridor to attend the opening ceremony planned by Pakistan on November 9.

Sidhu had been invited by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan himself to attend the Kartarpur Corridor opening ceremony. Sources said Sidhu was informed by the Vidhan Sabha secretariat like all other members of Assembly. This is the second such session he has skipped in a row ever since he resigned from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet. He could not be reached for comment.

Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa hit out at Sidhu for not participating in the Assembly session, but said that “the credit of opening Kartarpur Corridor goes to Sidhu. He is the one who brought the news of the opening. The narrative started only after Sidhu went to participate in Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony”.

At the same time, Randhawa said, “I am sad. Sidhu should have shown a large heart today. He has shown narrow-mindedness. He should have reached here and thanked the Guru Sahib. He should have been here with the MLAs. He has tried to look different. Nobody is going to like it.”

The minister further said that Sidhu should go to Kartarpur Sahib along with the delegation of MLAs and not attend the Pakistan function. “If he wants to thank Imran Khan we can go with him,” said Randhawa.

AAP MLA Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, while speaking in the Vidhan Sabha, thanked Sidhu and Akali leader late Kuldeep Singh Wadala, while Sidhu’s own party Congress did not mention him in the House. Sources said Sidhu did not responded to calls by state government officials liasioning for Amarinder’s Jatha to Pakistan on November 9.

The third letter

Meanwhile, Sidhu’s third letter to the MEA said, “Given that the invite from Pakistan has come, copy already submitted, the program is crystal clear. I humbly submit for the permission to crossover from the corridor in the morning before 9.30 am on November 9, 2019, to be in time for the inauguration slated at 11 am.”

It further said, “I would first like to meditate at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur) for the Shukrana (thanksgiving) on Baba ji’s glory and grace, have langer with sangat as a humble Sikh, attend the inauguration ceremony and come back by evening through the corridor.”

“However, if it is not possible then I would go to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib (Kartarpur) through Wagah border one day before i.e. on November 8, stay overnight at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, attend the ceremony and come back next day i.e. November 9 through the corridor. At present, I don’t have a visa for Pakistan. Your early response would determine my future course of action.”