Congress has said Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been receiving ‘more threats’ since he left the BJP.
New Delhi: The Congress has asked the union home ministry to provide security cover for Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu when he travels out of the state, saying he had been receiving more threats since he jumped ship from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and began to take on the drug mafia.
The request comes as the party plans to deploy Sidhu for its campaigns for the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly elections.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala made the request in a letter to home minister Rajnath Singh Saturday.
In his letter, Surjewala said that “there has been a marked escalation in these threats since S. Sidhu left the BJP and joined the Indian National Congress”.
“Unfortunately, the extension of protection to Sidhu has been driven not by threat perceptions but by his politics,” he added.
“Previously, in 2014, the SAD-BJP government in Punjab had withdrawn his security cover, which was reinstated after a protest.
“Now that S. Sidhu is a legislator and a senior cabinet minister of the Congress party as also an outspoken critic of Modi government’s policies, there seems to be a growing threat perception to his life,” he added.
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“As Congress party’s campaigner, S. Sidhu is traveling extensively throughout the country during elections as also on other party programmes on a regular basis,” Surjewala said.
“While the state of Punjab has provided him adequate security, Punjab Police personnel cannot be assigned the responsibility of security in the rest of India,” he added.
“S. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s campaign against drug mafia and criminals in the state of Punjab, especially the Majha region, is well known,” Surjewala wrote. “He is much loved across the country. As a result of his highly visible profile and political campaign, he has always been a high-risk target. However, there has been a marked escalation in these threats since S. Sidhu left the BJP and joined the Indian National Congress.”
He sought the home minister’s urgent intervention in providing security cover to Sidhu.
The letter also said that Sidhu has “taken on Akali Dal (Badal) as also their anti-people policies, besides exposing the unholy nexus between Akali Dal (Badal) and certain criminal elements on numerous occasions”.
‘Threatening tone, disparaging remarks’
“His campaign against the Badal-BJP government is known to one and all. After S. Sidhu left the BJP, the threatening tone and disparaging remarks by various Akali Dal-BJP leaders, including the BJP national president, Shri Amit Shah, are also well known,” he wrote.
Stating that the home ministry would be aware of the “numerous threats to Sidhu”, Surjewala also said the Singh should ask police officials for a report on the gravity of these concerns.
“May I also point out that even in Punjab, your office has provided CISF cover to S. Bikram Singh Majithia, former minister & currently MLA of Akali Dal (Badal) against whom S. Sidhu has taken up cudgels on numerous occasions,” Surjewala wrote.