Capt Amarinder Singh Sidhu was dropped because he was not performing his duties as a minister for local self-government and three parties have come together for the sake of national security and the welfare of the state.
New Delhi: It is a political bombshell in the run-up to the assembly polls in Punjab.
"After I dropped Navjot Sidhu from my government, I got a message from Pakistan that he is an old friend of their prime minister (Imran Khan) and he would be grateful if you (Amarinder) can keep him in the government," chief of Punjab Lok Congress, Capt Amarinder Singh, told reporters at BJP headquarters in Delhi.
The BJP in Punjab will contest 65 assembly seats, leaving 37 for Capt Amarinder Singh's newly floated Punjab Lok Congress and 15 for Akali Dal (Sanyukt) of S S Dhindsa.
Announcing the seat adjustment, BJP chief J P Nadda said at a press conference, "Today Punjab needs special attention, it needs a double engine government and better coordination between the Centre and the state." Both Capt Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a former Union Minister, were present in the press meet.
"I am announcing a broader seat sharing agreement, BJP will contest on 65 seats, Punjab Lok Congress 37 seats and Akali Dal (Sanyukt) on 15," Nadda said.
Capt Amarinder Singh said the three parties have come together for the sake of national security and the welfare of the state. He also said there was a request from Pakistan that Sidhu should be taken back to the ministry. "They also said if he (Sidhu) doesn't work, then you can remove him," Singh said.
Former Punjab CM said Sidhu was dropped because he was not performing his duties as a minister for local self-government. Sidhu is now Punjab Congress chief.
Meanwhile, Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah on Monday (January 24) exuded confidence that the BJP-led NDA will do well in the ensuing Punjab assembly elections and also 'restore' the glory of Punjab.
"Along with BJP President Shri JP Nadda Ji, met our NDA allies of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Ji and Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa Ji. NDA under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi Ji is committed to restoring the glory of Punjab and the welfare of farmers, poor and deprived," Shah tweeted.
Punjab will go to the polls on February 20. Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Hardeep Singh Puri met the Election Commission in Delhi and lodged a complaint against a former DGP, Mohammad Mustafa.
"We urged ECI to act against ex-Punjab DGP Mustafa for making a provocative speech in Malerkotla on January 20," said Shekhawat, BJP in-charge of polls in Punjab.
Mustafa, also advisor to Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu reportedly said, "I swear by Allah, I will not let them (Hindu) organise any political event. I am a soldier of community." After his purported `hate speech' video went viral, the Punjab police have registered an FIR against former DGP Mustafa.
Former Punjab DGP Mohammad Mustafa, against whom the FIR was lodged, is the husband of Congress candidate from Malerkotla, Razia Sultana. He has said that his political opponents were trying to make an issue out of nothing.
BJP decided to strike an alliance last year with Dhindsa's party and Capt Amarinder Singh-floated new outfit Punjab Lok Congress.