Navjot Singh Sidhu released from Patiala jail, slams Narendra Modi government, also takes dig at AAP government
PATIALA: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu Saturday walked free after spending nearly 10 months in Patiala jail in a 1988 road rage case and slammed the Centre, alleging that democracy is in chains and institutions have turned slaves in the country.
He also claimed that a conspiracy is being hatched to impose the President’s Rule in Punjab.
The former Punjab Congress president described Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann as ”akhbari mukhmantri” for giving big ads in papers and criticised his government over law and order and poll promises.
He slammed the AAP government for allegedly trying to delay his release from the Patiala jail by a few hours, claiming that it was “scared so much it does not want to listen to the truth.” There were expectations that Sidhu would be released by 12 noon but he came out of jail at 5:53 pm.
Sidhu was wearing a sky-blue jacket and goggles when he walked out of the prison where a battery of media persons, his supporters and many party leaders had been waiting for him since morning.
Accompanied by his son Karan, Sidhu reached his Patiala residence where his wife Navjot Kaur, who has been diagnosed with cancer, stood on the house’s roof from where she showered flower petals.
While Sidhu’s close confidants, including former Punjab Congress chief Lal Singh, former MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, were present, some of the prominent faces like the current state party president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring were not seen.
Warring, however, said in a tweet, ”Welcome Sardar Navjot Singh Sidhu Ji @sherryontopp. Look forward to meeting you soon as you resume public life in service of all Punjabis.” Sidhu (59) was sent to prison in May 2022 after being sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment by the Supreme Court over the death of Gurnam Singh, 65.
Immediately after coming out of jail, Sidhu, who appeared to have shed some weight, launched an unsparing attack on the Centre and the Punjab government.
”Whenever dictatorship came in the country, a revolution came and today, I say the revolution’s name is Rahul Gandhi,” Sidhu told reporters. He said the Congress is fighting against oppression.
”Today democracy is in chains, there is nothing like democracy today, he alleged.
”Institutions have turned slaves and these have been made rubber ‘ke gudde’ (dolls),” he alleged.
Taking inspiration from his ancestors, who played their role in the country’s freedom, Rahul Gandhi is breaking those chains, Sidhu said.
”He is roaring like a lion and attempts are being made to suppress his voice and when the lion roars, that is echoing in America, Germany and in the entire world. Debate and dissent are the essence of democracy. It is the opposition role to raise issues, he said.
Further, without elaborating or naming anyone, Sidhu said, “My friend what not you have said. What you do is ‘nyarileela’ and if someone else does then ‘character dheela’. What kind of justice is this,” he asked.
Meanwhile, Sidhu claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched to impose President’s Rule in Punjab.
”Punjab is the shield of this country, attempts are being made to break this shield. A conspiracy is going on to impose President’s Rule in Punjab,” he claimed.
In an apparent reference to Sikhs, who are a minority community in the country, Sidhu said, ”There is a minority rule in Punjab. Wherever the minority is in majority, the Centre hatches conspiracy (against it)”.
He accused the BJP-led Centre of playing divisive politics for polarisation of votes where their “Hindutva agenda” does not work.
He alleged first a law and order problem is created. After that, there is an attempt to control it and then they say, we have brought peace, he said.
”If you weaken Punjab, then you will become weak yourself. No government can become strong by weakening Punjab,” he said.
Democracy means people’s power to the people, he said but asked whether it has reached them while pointing out it was limited to a few capitalists. “Tanashah, Tanashah,” he exclaimed.
He said no religion is bigger than ‘Rashtradharam’.
Sidhu also hit out at CM Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over issues including law and order, debt and poll promises.
“I want to ask my younger brother Bhagwant Mann that you sold dreams by telling lies to people. You made people of Punjab a fool. You have been reduced to ‘akhbari mukhmantri’,” he said, targeting Mann for giving big advertisements in newspapers rather than carrying out any development.
He also targeted the state government over the death of famous Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.
On the radical preacher Amritpal Singh issue, Sidhu said he will speak about the law and order situation when he visits Moosewala’s house.
He targeted the Mann government over raising debt for fulfilling its poll promise of free electricity and accused him of burdening people with debt.
He slammed Mann and Kejriwal over the issue of sacrilege and not being able to generate resources as promised before the state polls.
He alleged that the government delayed his release from the jail so that his supporters and the media would leave who were present outside of the jail.
Turning emotional, Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur told reporters at her residence that she had been waiting for him. “Sidhu Saab has always walked the path of truth and he always stands by Punjab.” A huge rush of Sidhu’s supporters could be seen at his Patiala residence.
Source: Press Trust of India