Punjab Ministers Demand Sidhu’s Resignation Over ‘Captain’ Remark

Sidhu had said, “Rahul is my captain. It is he who sent me to Pak. He is the captain of captain (Amarinder Singh).”

3 min read
Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Several Punjab ministers have sought Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation, days after the cricketer-turned-politician said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi was his “captain” and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s captain too.

The ministers condemned Sidhu and said he should “learn how to respect elders.” They also demanded an apology from the state cultural affairs minister. 

The former cricketer's wife, however, said on Sunday that Sidhu’s statement was being twisted and taken out of context.

“Navjot Sidhu’s heart is clean. He has not committed any mistake that he should resign. He has already said Capt sahib (Amarinder) is a father figure to him. If outside Punjab, he said Rahul is the captain, what is wrong on that? He has not called (Narendra) Modi his captain. He is only calling Rahul his captain. And Capt sahib’s (Amarinder Singh) captain too is Rahul, isn’t it,” Kaur asked. 
Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Navjot Singh Sidhu

“Since Navjot and I joined the Congress, we have always shown full respect towards Capt sahib,” she added.

On Saturday, 1 December, three ministers – Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi – had called for Sidhu's resignation from the state cabinet.

Women and Child Development and Transport Minister in Punjab, Aruna Chaudhary, said that Sidhu's remark was "unfortunate" and "uncalled for.”

"Capt Amarinder Singh is our undisputed leader. He is the captain of the party in the state. He was chief ministerial candidate in the last assembly elections and under him, the party returned to power with an overwhelming majority. At the same time, Rahul Gandhi is the captain of entire Congress, no one is disputing this fact. But what Sidhu has said about captain sahib (Amarinder Singh) is unfortunate," she said on Sunday.

Amarinder Singh was in the Army and had served as a Captain during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.

Sidhu had made the statement in Hyderabad last week when reporters had asked him about attending the Kartarpur Corridor ceremony in Pakistan despite Punjab CM’s disapproval.

“Rahul Gandhi is my captain. It is he who sent me to Pakistan. Rahul Gandhi is the captain of the captain (Amarinder Singh) also.” 
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Minister

The state Minister of Forests, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, also demanded that Sidhu apologise to the chief minister and reminded the former cricketer that he was not running a comedy show.

Earlier, Sidhu was part of a popular TV comedy show.

“It seems Sidhu sahib has forgotten that he is a minister. He should know that he is not running a comedy show here. He must learn how to respect the elders and seek an apology from the chief minister.”  
Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Minister of Forests, Punjab

On Sunday, Bajwa said Sidhu's tone towards the chief minister was not appropriate, and demanded an apology.

Sources said the issue might come up during the state cabinet meeting on Monday, 3 November.

Rahul Gandhi Didn’t Send Me to Pak: Sidhu Backtracks on Claim

The row over Sidhu’s Pakistan visit had escalated even as the cricketer-turned-politician backtracked on his claim that Gandhi had asked him to attend the ceremony in Kartarpur.

"Get your facts right before you distort them, Rahul Gandhi Ji never asked me to go to Pakistan. The whole world knows I went to Pakistan on Prime Minister Imran Khan's personal invite," Sidhu had tweeted on Saturday.

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