Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday denied that party president Rahul Gandhi had asked him to go to Pakistan to attend the foundation-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The clarification came hours after news reports had interpreted a cryptic remark he made indicating that he had gone on Gandhi’s orders.
“Get your facts right before you distort them,” Sidhu said on Twitter. “Rahul Gandhi Ji never asked me to go to Pakistan. The whole world knows I went on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal invite.”
Earlier in the day, Sidhu had told reporters when asked about Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s opposition to his visit: “Rahul Gandhi is my captain. He sent me everywhere.” Amarinder Singh is widely known as Captain, after his rank when he served in the Army.
Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan on the invitation of Imran Khan had drawn criticism from several quarters, including Amarinder Singh. Singh had said he had asked Sidhu to reconsider his decision but the minister chose to go ahead with the visit.
Sidhu said several Congress leaders had praised him for going to Pakistan, including Shashi Tharoor, Harish Rawat and Randeep Surjewala.
The Kartarpur corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district, where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, died in 1539.