Navjot Singh Sidhu has escalated another debate after he compared the culture of Pakistan with that of Southern Indian states. He was sharing the stage with former journalist and AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu during a session on 'Punjab, Punjabis and Punjabiyat' on the first day of 7th Khushwant Singh Literature Festival. The controversial Congress leader was caught in the eye of the storm when asked:
AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu: Before partition, there a Punjabs. Today, we have 2 Punjabs. There is Punjab on sunset side which is Punjab in Pakistan then there Punjab in the east, which is our Punjab - which is on the sunrise side. Now, there are two different nationalities. Yet there is an affinity of sorts. You've just been to Pakistan. What kind of affinity, you think, still prevails between the two Punjabs?
To which Congress leader Sidhu replied:
Navjot Singh Sidhu: If I go to Tamil Nadu, I don't understand the language, there are just one or two words like 'vannakam' ...Not that I don't like that food. I still can take idlis and... But not for a long time. That culture is totally different. But if I go to Pakistan, the language is the same. Everything there is amazing.
Killing two birds with one stone, Navjot Singh Sidhu went ahead to justify his much maligned trip to Pakistan and his infamous hug with Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and also mounted a scathing attack on BJP over Rafale deal.
Navjot Singh Sidhu: My Jhapi was no conspiracy, it was no Rafale deal...I hugged you...is this a conspiracy or what? If somebody tells me that they are ready to open the Kartarpur corridor. I mean they said it 400 times that we are ready to open the corridor then this is the way I show affection. I will hug and also kiss them. I care two hoots about people who play dirty politics on that. I have lived my life on my terms.
However, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had to face embarrassment after Pakistan Government in September clearly stated that there has been no official communication with India on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Pak's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, was addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad where he made the statement, contradicting Navjot Singh Sidhu.
This comes after Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu stated that Pakistan had offered to allow visa-free access to the holy Kartarpur Sahib -- the reason Sidhu gave to justify his embrace with Pak Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Sidhu even thanked Pak PM Imran Khan and praised his leadership for restoring peace.