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Punjab Minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu took a U-turn and denied his statement.
“Get your facts right before you distort them, Rahul Gandhi Ji never asked me to go to Pakistan. The whole world knows I went on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal invite,” he tweeted.
Sidhu had attended the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in Pakistan on November 28.
Earlier on Friday, the cricketer-turned-politician sought to clarify his recent visit to the neighbouring country despite Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s objection it the visit. Sidhu claimed that Rahul Gandhi had sent him to Pakistan for the groundbreaking ceremony of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 28.
“My captain is Rahul Gandhi, he has sent me everywhere. Rahul Gandhi is also the captain of Captain Amarinder Singh (Mere captain Rahul Gandhi hain, unhone toh bheja hai har jagah. Hamare Captain sahab ke bhi Captain Rahul Gandhi ji hain),” Sidhu said.
He had added that the central leadership and atleast 20 Congress leaders had asked him to go to Pakistan. “Atleast 20 Congress leaders asked me to go, Central leadership asked me to go. Punjab Chief Minister is like my father, I told him that I had already promised them (Pakistan) that I will go,” said Sidhu.
Later, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi backed Sidhu and hit out at the Centre for trying to divert people’s attention from the real issues. “It was his private visit (to Pakistan), Congress party has clarified, Sidhu has clarified, Punjab Govt has clarified. This rudderless Govt (Centre) is desperate and trying to divert attention from real issues,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan had inaugurated the opening ceremony of the facilities on November 28. Kartarpur corridor promises to help Sikh pilgrims from India offer prayers at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of Ravi river in Pakistan.
The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister. During his visit, he was seen hugging Pakistan Army chief Bajwa, leading to a massive controversy. At the time, Sidhu had defended himself by saying that the Pakistan Army chief had told him about the opening of a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, which led to the hug.