Akali Dal 'advises' BJP to 'tame' Navjot Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh: A day after BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu accused the Akali regime in Punjab of converting politics into a commercial venture, SAD today said the remark was against the spirit of 'coalition dharma' and asked the saffron party to "tame" the former Amritsar MP.

Navjot Singh Sidhu

Punjab Education Minister and SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema rang up state BJP chief Kamal Sharma in the evening to apprise him about the "derogatory remarks" made by Sidhu at a religious function in Ludhiana yesterday, according to a SAD release here.

"This action of Sidhu is intolerable and is against the spirit of coalition dharma," Cheema said.

In an apparent swipe at SAD's slogan of 'Raj Nahi, Sewa (service, not rule)', Sidhu had yesterday said, "For them (Akalis) it is only 10 per cent sewa (service) and 90 per cent mewa (commercial gain)."

Cheema expressed surprise that when the BJP high command in Delhi as well as in the state have openly clarified that there is no rift or any issue between SAD and BJP, there should be no reason for Sidhu to speak against the SAD leadership, the release said.

"Sidhu's utterances were itself the violation of the advice of senior BJP national leadership which has recently publicly endorsed the continuation of alliance in Punjab," Cheema said, urging Sharma to take up the matter with the party high command "so as to tame Sidhu", the release said.

He demanded that strict disciplinary actions be taken against Sidhu. Cheema said such utterances are creating "bitterness in the SAD-BJP alliance" and hoped that the BJP leadership will take the matter seriously.

Asked to comment on the matter, Kamal Sharma said "We can understand that they (SAD) are quite upset. I told Cheema that we will convey the matter to our party high command."

Sharma was of the opinion that Sidhu should not go public with his utterances against the Akalis in this manner.

"These kind of statements don't help (the coalition), if there are problems, there are platforms, both within the party and coalition," he said.

Sidhu had also attacked the Akalis, who are an ally of BJP in Punjab, while campaigning for BJP candidates in Haryana during the recent Assembly polls.

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