Sidhu says thousands of photos were clicked during his visit to Pakistan, adds he does not know who Gopal Singh Chawla is.
Attari, Punjab: After a rather controversial visit to Pakistan for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, Navjot Singh Sidhu returned to India, and to questions galore, on Thursday afternoon. The biggest of several controversies during Sidhu's visit to the neighbouring country has been photos of him with pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla but the Congress leader defended himself by saying he did not know who he was.
Opposition leaders have flayed Sidhu for being seen with Chawla, a pro-Khalistan activist. Photos of the two went viral on social media. On his part, Sidhu put up an innocent face. "There were probably five to ten thousand photos clicked of me there. I don't know who is Gopal Chawla," he told Indian media persons.
The defence though is unlikely to hold ground with several leaders questioning the Punjab minister for meeting with a Khalistan sympathiser. Union minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was also in Pakistan for the ceremony, was at the forefront in flaying the cricketer-turned-politician. "He has become a Pakistani agent after going there. Rahul Gandhi should clearly state his stand on this," she said. (Read full report here)
BJP's Prakash Javadekar also criticised Sidhu for heaping praises on Imran Khan. "It's surprising to see Sidhu showering praise on Khan at a time when Pakistan has been found involved in terrorism in our country. He should know that the event was not a 'Laughter's Challenge," he said.
The criticisms are likely to be a massive headache for Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh who had declined the invite sent to him for the event by Pakistan. He has maintained that Sidhu went in a personal capacity and some media reports even quoted him as saying that he had advised him to re-think his plans of attending the event.