Sidhu lashes back at Sitharaman over hug controversy

“It is not a conspiracy, ‘jhappi’ is not Rafale deal, ‘jhappi’ is not firing bullets at Gursikhs.” 

September 19, 2018: Targeting the BJP on Wednesday, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu once again asserted that his hug to Pakistan’s army chief was just a “jhappi” and “not a Rafale deal”.

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“Be partner in this good work. Why are you creating hurdles in it,” said Sidhu while criticising Akali Dal leaders without naming them.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu could have “avoided” giving a hug to Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in Islamabad in August. During a media interaction, Sitharaman said Sidhu’s hug impacted soldiers back home.

After Sitharaman’s statement, Sidhu, in an interaction with journalists, asked “You are not talking about sentiments of Sikhs and you have blown the one-second emotional hug out of proportion. Is it a conspiracy?”

Sidhu asked whether players will not shake hands when a cricket match takes place between India and Pakistan. “Do not shake hands when there is going to be a cricket match between India and Pakistan. Will you not shake hands? If Pakistan PM, who is a good man and had played several matches here, shakes hands with Indian team or hugs player like Virat (Kohli), will he show his back to him,” he said.

By Shaoni Sarkar