Congress derides Navjot Sidhu’s Mughal-like elephant ride

April 23rd, 2009 - 2:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, April 23 (IANS) Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s elephant ride in Amritsar has come under criticism from the Congress, with a party leader describing them as the new “Mughal emperors of Punjab”.
Badal and Sidhu, the sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Amrtisar, seated themselves on two elephants along with Badal’s brother-in-law and Akali Dal legislator Bikram Singh Majithia, while other leaders of the ruling came on horses when Sidhu went to file his nomination papers Wednesday.

“The pomp and show displayed by the Akali Dal-BJP in Amritsar can rightly be termed as the arrival of the new Mughal emperors of Punjab. While people of Punjab continue to suffer due to lack of basic facilities, Sukhbir and his new team have embarked upon the path of glory once witnessed during the erstwhile Mughal emperors of India,” said Congress legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

Khaira questioned the pomp and show at a time when Punjab was under a debt of Rs.520 billion (Rs.52,000 crore) and unable to pay salaries to its staff.

“People in Punjab don’t have access to daily basic needs while Badal, the new Mughal emperor and feudal lord, wants to build five-star hotels at Amritsar and Bathinda. By riding elephants for filing nominations, they are ready to crush the people under the feet of these animals just like the Mughals did. They are nothing but hot-headed, arrogant and feudal leaders,” he added.

Sidhu is seeking a re-election from Amritsar, which goes to the polls May 13. He faces a tough challenge from Congress candidate and former popular Amritsar mayor O.P. Soni, a sitting Congress legislator from Amritsar.

The Akali Dal and BJP run an alliance government in the state headed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Punjab has 13 Lok Sabha seats and elections are being held here May 7 and 13.

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