Sidhu dares Sukhbir Badal over Amritsar

Chandigarh, Sep 16 (IANS) The war of words between Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal got louder Monday with the cricketer-turned-politician daring Badal to accept responsibility for lack of development in the Sikh holy city.

Reacting to Badal's statement that Sidhu's outbursts over Amritsar's development was "an internal matter of BJP" as the concerned departments were with BJP ministers, Sidhu hit back Monday: "Our respected leaders who aspire for credits must also learn to gracefully own up discredits."

Sidhu, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Amritsar, who returned to his constituency after some eight months, has been open in his criticism of the Punjab government for neglecting Amritsar vis-a-vis development.

The Akali Dal and BJP have been running an alliance government in Punjab since 2007.

"Before describing the issue of development of Amritsar as an internal matter of the BJP, Sukhbir Singh Badal should have glanced at the historical facts.

"If Parkash Singh Badal heads the Amritsar Development Authority, if you personally rushed to Amritsar to inaugurate each Amritsar development project including the latest announcement of Rs.2,000 crore project wherein you ignored to involve me.

"If your name is put on the top of each foundation stone of the Amritsar development works - including accomplished and non-accomplished - then how come it is an internal matter of the BJP?" Sidhu asked Badal junior.

Sidhu, who is at loggerheads with Sukhbir Badal and Badal's brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, has been vocal in his criticism of the alliance government. The BJP has chosen to remain quiet on his outbursts.

Reacting to Badal's statement that he (Sidhu) could come to him any time to discuss Amritsar's issues, Sidhu said: "My dear elder brother, I am grateful to you for inviting me through the media to discuss the issue of Amritsar and I am ready to come to you barefooted with all humility to discuss the projects of the holy city. But ironically, the need for special invitation has occurred because you tend to ignore me on each issue of Amritsar.

"May I know why I was not invited when you announced Rs.2,000 crore projects for the holy city last week? Ask your deputy commissioner why I am not invited to the monthly meetings of district planning committee?

"Why I am not allowed to deliver speech when you invite the PM to Amritsar on important occasions? Why there is breach of only my privilege every time when a foreign dignitary pays visit to Amritsar?

"By ignoring me you are ignoring the mandate of people of Amritsar and for that matter the Nagri of Sri Guru Ram Das. I am prepared to face all personal humiliations. But I will not tolerate a single thing against the Vatican and the Mecca of Sikhs," the three-time MP from Amritsar said.

Sidhu said he had no personal issues with anyone.

The BJP MP had last week sought a time-bound judicial probe into the transfer of funds of Rs.60 crore of the Amritsar Improvement Trust to other places.

He has been demanding completion of several projects in Amritsar including those related to solid waste management, a multiple sports complex, a city bus service, CCTV cameras and three new flyovers.

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