Navjot Singh Sidhu, local MP, age 49, height 6-foot 2, “missing” since September 2012, last seen on television; Rs-2-lakh reward to anyone who finds him and brings him back.
Neither the BJP and its alliance partner SAD (B) leadership came to defendNavjot Singh Sidhu, member of Parliament (MP) from Amritsar, from the scathing attacks of Congress party regarding his absence from his constituency nor Sidhu himself chose to address the people who voted him to victory. However, his lesser known political secretary Aman Sharma came out in open to shield his boss.
Apparently advised by Sidhu, Aman used cliches usually framed and spoken by Sidhu himself, as in a statement issued to media on Tuesday he used the phrases like – “Hathi challe bich bazaar, kutta bhonke ikk hazaar” and “Arabi ghora agar kamjor bhi par jaye, gadhon ke astbal se kahin behtar hota hai”- presumably to give n impression that his boss is still mightier even if he is not in his workplace.
He said, “Everybody in Amritsar as well as in whole of Punjab is aware that certain elements in the SAD-BJP alliance have created circumstances to force an exceptionally honest politician Sidhu, to stay away from his constituency.”
Without naming anyone, he targeted both SAD-BJP and Congress leadership for their alleged anti-Sidhu propaganda. He also pointed out Sidhu’s pet projects, for which he had batted, both with state and Centre governments, but couldn’t take off . The projects include solid waste management, two flyovers, expansion of Bhandari Bridge, well equipped city sports complex at Ranjit Avenue and installation of CCTV cameras.
“All these projects were scuttled one by one and around Rs 200 crore available with the Amritsar Improvement Trust was shifted to meet some vested interests,” he alleged.
“Let the party execute all of his projects and my boss will immediately spring into action in his Amritsar constituency,” said Aman. Firing a salvo at BJP, he added, “Even the BJP’s Punjab unit sidelined Sidhu’s supporters in allocating party positions and those who had played negative role in his election were rewarded with lucrative positions.”
About Sidhu’s generosity and love for his constituency, Sharma said the MP had spent around Rs 2 crore from his own pocket to grow trees. “He was a pioneer in the development of rose garden, Rajasansi international airport face-lift, clearance of bottlenecks for starting Rs 500-crore Japan-funded city sewerage project and completion of Attari-Jalandhar four-lane road project among others. He wanted to take Amritsar to number one slot, but, his political rivals scuttled all his new projects,” he said.
Striking an emotional note, he said Sidhu had even sold one of his two houses in Patiala to build one in Amritsar. “It was Sidhu who did not visit his ancestral hometown in Patiala for three years,” he said.
As old buildings continue to crash over people, new roads get ripped apart, and drains get choked because of rains in his constituency, there’s no word forthcoming from the Bharatiya Janata Party (JP) leader. As dawn broke on Monday, Amritsar woke up to see the “missing MP” posters all over the city, on walls, buses and trains.
The prolonged absence of Navjot Singh Sidhu MP from holy city is becoming murkier day by day. He has not turned up nor there any such indication from his wife if he is returning to Amritsar in the near future notwithstanding the fact that a newspaper has carried a small story that he will appear in Amritsar shortly.
Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been elected thrice from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat has been missing from his constituency for the past more than six months and his constituents are feeling let down. They do not find any one to redress their grievances.
Dr. Navjot Kaur Sidhu wife of Navjot Sidhu who has been in controversy with her outbursts has now become silent after her meeting with national BJP president Rajnath Singh in Delhi four days ago.
After meeting Rajnath Singh, she had told this writer that her grievances had been met and she was left with no issue pending. But the reports in the newspapers speak contrary to the same.
Navjot Sidhu has been having grievances with his party as well as with the Punjab Government which is headed by Parkash Singh Badal. Sidhu has been demanding Rs. 100 crore which were announced for the face lifting of the holy city. He also sought a heritage status for Amritsar which has not been granted so far.
Sidhu was upset with the party high command when he was ignored in the national executive by Rajnath Singh. However, he has now been accommodated with Nitin Gadkari as co-coordinator for Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections and is busy there in organizing the BJP campaign for five days. On Saturdays and Sundays he appears on Colour TV channel in the comedy programme with Kapil Sharma and enthralls the viewers. He is getting handsome money in lieu of the comedy programme. By doing so he is ignoring the constituency of Amritsar.
The claim of his supporters that he left Amritsar in disgust due to opposition from his detractors, There is a general feeling among the political circles that he should have fought his detractors and stuck to Amritsar. He should have watched the interests of his electorate. He has left Amritsar as if he is not going to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
Speculation is already rife that he may contest the Lok Sabha poll from Delhi.
His wife has already told this writer that her husband would abide by the decision of the high command as far as the Lok Sabha polls are concerned. ‘We are soldiers of the party and will abide by all decisions’, she has told the writer.
Amritsar Sangharsh Samiti, a non-government orgainsation (NGO) that put these posters up, also went about distributing these and asking people whether they had seen the man in the photograph. Trains will carry the posters to different parts of the country, to widen the search for Sidhu. Perhaps the idea came from an Akali leader of Patiala, who had offered a reward of Rs. 25,000 to anyone giving him information on former chief minister and Patiala legislator Captain Amarinder Singh, who also had been away from his constituency for quite some time. He has since returned.
(A ‘missing Sidhu’ poster in Amritsar. Will the laughter-show host take it seriously or as a joke? Munish Byala/HT)
“We are concerned, and the citizens are concerned about the well being of the MP, about his health. We are curious to know if he is under any threat,” Samiti president Raman Bakshi told the media while releasing the posters to them here. Bakshi, a former Congress councillor, has said it has been almost a year since Sidhu was last seen in Amritsar, during the swearing-in ceremony of BJP mayor Bakshi Ram Arora in September 2012.
“We see Sidhu on ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ (laughter show on television) every Saturday and Sunday night. That is the only information we have about our missing MP,” said Bakshi. “He is the same leader who while campaigning in the last assembly elections for his wife and BJP candidate, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, had said: ‘MLA naal, ek MP free (get an MP free with an MLA)’. It is costing us a fortune to get the free MP back,” he added.
NGO to ask Lok Sabha speaker
Amritsar Sangharsh Samiti will write to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar to ask her about Sidhu’s “disappearance”. “We will seek information from the speaker about Sidhu’s whereabouts, as he has not been attending the ongoing monsoon session,” We will inquire from the Speaker about Sidhu’s last sitting in Parliament and will inform her of his long absence from Amritsar”, said Samiti president Raman Bakshi. A copy of the poster will also be mailed to the speaker. “Any of Sidhu’s colleagues in Parliament could also receive the award, if they could find him and bring him to Amritsar,” said Bakshi.
You have played truant with the citizens of this city and disappeared without fulfilling any of your promises.
You swore by the Golden Temple that you will never leave Amritsar and will do everything to provide young people with employment and make the city’s roads as smooth as the cheeks of (Bollywood heroine) Preity Zinta.
You also promised us special status for the holy city, which you had dreamed of turning into Paris.
When you came here for the first time after being nominated by the BJP to contest in 2004, you rode into the city with fanfare on an elephant. However, when you disappeared, you did so silently and in an unceremonious manner. Nobody comes the way you did and nobody goes the way you did.
We appeal you to come out of hiding or the TV and explain to people if you are under any threat. If you are unhappy with something, spell it out.