The Congress’ Navjot Sidhu launched a vicious personal assault on Amarinder Singh, labelling him a “arrogant monarch” and accusing him of obsequious behaviour toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi, just a day after calling for the “public death” of anyone accused of religious desecration.
Sidhu’s remarks come as Amarinder Singh, a Congress veteran of more than 40 years, and his Punjab Lok Congress prepare to contest the February-March election in an alliance with the BJP, which was formerly their arch-rival.
“Captain (Amarinder Singh) claimed ‘doors have been closed for Sidhu,’ but look at him today… he’s sitting at home licking Modi’s feet,” Sidhu remarked on Monday, according to news agency ANI.
The scathing remark was in response to Amarinder Singh’s April statement that he had ‘blocked my doors for Sidhu.’ That came amid reports that the former cricketer was on the verge of joining the AAP.
Last week, Amarinder Singh signed a partnership with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP for the Punjab elections, a move that had been widely anticipated since he left the Congress. “The coalition will win the elections by a factor of 101,” he said.
The Congress suffered an unsettling exodus on the same day, with as many as 22 leaders joining Amarinder Singh, whose early signals of influence would undoubtedly scare his former party while delighting his new friends.
Sidhu’s alarming remarks come just one day after he declared that individuals suspected of religious desecration should be hanged in public, in comments that were seen as promoting vigilante killings.
The remarks also broke a deafening silence among state officials, including Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, who hurried to denounce the two incidences of alleged sacrilege but remained shamelessly silent on both lynching cases.
Two alleged sacrilege incidences were reported from Punjab this week, one from Amritsar’s Golden Temple and the other from Kapurthala, both within 24 hours of each other.
The accused was beaten to death in each case. So yet, only one FIR – for sacrilege – has been lodged.
Holy sacrilege and desecration of religious scriptures are sensitive issues in Punjab, and Sidhu has used the 2015 sacrilege case to attack his competitor, Amarinder Singh, and his own party.
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