I re­late more to Pak­ista­nis than Ta­mil­ians, says Sidhu

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - CON-

Chandi­garh: Pun­jab min­is­ter Navjot Singh Sidhu raked up yet an­other con­tro­very while speak­ing at a lit­er­a­ture fest in Kasauli on Fri­day.

Dis­cussing cul­tural sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the Pun­jab in In­dia and Pak­istan, Sidhu said the cul­ture is same at both places.

To drive home the point, Sidhu said, “When I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t un­der­stand the lan­guage. There are just one or two words I un­der­stand. Not that I don’t like the food, but I can­not have it for a long time. The cul­ture is to­tally dif­fer­ent. But if I go to Pak­istan, they speak Pun­jabi and English and I can re­late to them more.”

Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesper­son Daljit Singh Cheema said Sidhu, be­ing a cabi­net min­is­ter, should be care­ful with his words. “There is no harm in prais­ing oth­ers, but one should not de­mean his own coun­try,” said Cheema.

In his de­fence, Sidhu said an un­nec­es­sary con­tro­versy was be­ing cre­ated and he never said any­thing ob­jec- tion­able.

The 54-year-old min­is­ter was re­cently in news for vis­it­ing Pak­istan and hug­ging its army chief, Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa.

He had termed it as an emo­tional re­sponse af­ter Ba­jwa told him that they were mak­ing ef­forts to open the cor­ri­dor from Dera Baba Nanak in In­dia to Kar­tarpur Sahib in Pak­istan to fa­cil­i­tate pil­grims who want to pay obei­sance on the oc­ca­sion of 550th birth an­niver­sary of Guru Nanak Dev.

The BJP had ac­cused Sid- Navjot Singh Sidhu| hu of de­mean­ing In­dia and speak­ing as an agent of Pak­istan by at­tempt­ing to jus­tify hug­ging Ba­jwa. It had also sought a re­sponse from Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on the is­sue.

Sidhu had later met Sushma Swaraj and urged her to help ini­ti­ate di­a­logue with Pak­istan on the open­ing up of the Kar­tarpur Sahib cor­ri­dor. How­ever, a Union min­is­ter had claimed that Swaraj had "rep­ri­manded" Sidhu for "mess­ing up" the is­sue of Kar­tarpur Sahib cor­ri­dor di­a­logue.

GRESS LEADER

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