Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has praised Bhagwant Mann as an “honest man” and said he would rise above party lines and support the Punjab Chief Minister in every step to crack down on the mafia in the state.
Mr Sidhu’s praise came a day after he criticized the Punjab government for police crackdown on former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Kumar Vishwas and Alka Lamba, accusing it of acting like a puppet of the Chief Minister of Delhi and AAP Chairman Arvind Kejriwal.
In a clip of an interaction with the media, which he posted on Twitter, Sidhu says the Congress in Punjab must “reinvent itself” to come back to power. He then adds that the state is witnessing a fight between the mafia and honest people.
Mr. Sidhu then proceeds to praise the Chief Minister. “I consider him my younger brother. He is an honest man. I have never lifted a finger at him. If he fights against it (mafia), my support is with him; I will rise above party lines because it is a fight for existence of Punjab.”
This came a day after Mr Sidhu lashed out at Mr Mann, in which he shared a cartoon of the Chief Minister riding a scooter in front called “Punjab govt” and operated by Mr Kejriwal.
“Pb Govt is acting like @ArvindKejriwal’s puppet…Police action against @DrKumarVishwas & @LambaAlka ji shows it being used to silence its critics…Congress stands firm behind Alka ji… Will accompany her to the police station to protest against politicization of Pb Police,” he said in the post.
Poet and former AAP leader Mr Vishwas and Alka Lamba, who left the party to join the Congress, are facing action from the Punjab Police for their remarks against Mr Kejriwal, a move that has led to allegations of political vendetta.
Shortly after the AAP’s overwhelming victory in Punjab, Mr. Mann had assured people that he would pursue the mafia operating in sectors such as mining and drugs in the border state.
In remarks that raised eyebrows, Mr Sidhu, who resigned after the defeat of the Congress, congratulated the people of Punjab for voting for “change”. He had also said that Mr Mann “is unfolding a new anti-mafia era in Punjab with a mountain of expectations” and wished him well.