NEW DELHI: The BJP on Friday slammed Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for praising Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the issue of opening of the Kartarpur corridor to enable devotees pay obeisance at a gurdwara associated with the first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev. The praise was an "insult to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
"This has become a habit with the Congress to insult our Prime Minister and praise that of the neighbouring country. The entire country is watching this. (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi should clarify the issue," BJP Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told a press conference here.
Hussain said that Sidhu's remarks came at a time when Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa has vowed to avenge the blood shed on the border by his country's soldiers.
"On one side, Pakistan's Army chief is speaking of 'khoon ka badla khoon' and in India a Congress leader is thanking Pakistan. It is very sad and unfortunate," he said.
"We reject Bajwa's statement. India is capable of responding to them," he added.
Seeking to know if it (praise) was the Congress statement or of Sidhu, he said that until the opposition party clarified, the BJP will consider it a statement by Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
"Sidhu is not an individual. He is a Congress leader and a Cabinet Minister in Punjab," the BJP leader said, adding that his statement thanking Pakistan is an indication of what the Congress feels about that country.
He said that India and many of its Prime Ministers had tried many a time to improve bilateral relations but to no avail.
Addressing reporters in Chandigarh, Sidhu earlier in the day thanked his "friend" Imran Khan for enabling the opening of the corridor that would allow pilgrims from India to go to the gurdwara close to the international border in Pakistan.
"Ajj meri zindagi safal ho gayi (today, I have succeeded in life)," Sidhu told the media.