Punjab CM Amarinder Singh faces ire over refusal to meet pro-Khalistan Canadian minister

The opposition parties hit out at the Amarinder Singh  for terming Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan a Khalistani sympathiser.

Published: 13th April 2017 09:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th April 2017 09:58 PM   |  A+A-

Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh (File | PTI)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The opposition parties hit out at the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday for terming Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan a "Khalistani sympathiser", saying it reflected Amarinder Singh's "vindictiveness" towards Punjabis living abroad.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) along with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa on Thursday criticised Amarinder after the latter refused to meet Sajjan during his scheduled visit to India later this month.

Former Punjab deputy chief minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday asked Amarinder Singh not to act petty and spiteful and give the defence minister of a sovereign country the respect he deserves. He said, “Amarinder should not have let a personal incident cloud his judgment and he should have refrained from making disparaging remarks against Sajjan as well as all other Punjabi representatives in the Canadian parliament. Punjabis worldwide are proud of their elected representatives in Canada and Sajjan is an example of personal accomplishment for the entire Punjabi diaspora. He should not be disrespected in this manner.’’

Sukhbir Badal said taking such stands were counterproductive and could come in the way of trade and bilateral relations with Canada.

"It is unfortunate. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has not only insulted the Canadian defence minister, but Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, who have already proved their mettle in foreign land, not only in the business sector but in the political arena by getting elected as MP to become ministers," Punjab AAP spokesman Sukhpal Khaira said.

The "outburst" against Sajjan, is Amarinder being "vindictive" towards NRIs living in Canada as they did not welcome him during his pre-poll visit to the country, he alleged.

"The Captain must understand that the people of Canada not only elected Harjit Sajjan as MP, but he also represents the government of Canada. As Chief Minister, he should welcome the visiting the defence minister," Khaira said.

Reacting to the remarks made by Amarinder, the Candian High Commission stated, “The comments regarding Canada's ministers are both disappointing and inaccurate. It also asserted that Canada greatly values its relationship with the people and the government of Punjab, and looks forward to further advancing this relationship.”

"We regret that the Chief Minister of Punjab is unavailable to meet with Canada's minister of defence. The Chief Minister is welcome to visit Canada," the High Commission added.


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