NEW DELHI: Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured him that the draft on the Kartarpur corridor issue was ready and the letter would soon be sent to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal asked Congress President Rahul Gandhi to tell what action he will take against Sidhu for betraying the people of the country and misusing Sikh sentiments on the Kartarpur corridor issue to hide his traitorous conduct.
Sidhu said he had requested Swaraj to send a formal request to the Pakistan Government for an early agreement and opening of the Kartarpur Sahib passage immediately after the current monsoon session.
"During the 15-minute meeting with Sawraj, I explained her about the necessity of opening of the corridor. It is the responsibility of the Indian Government to send a formal request for the opening of the corridor keeping in mind the sentiments of over ten crore Sikhs, Punjabi and Sindhi community. She (Swaraj) heard me and told me that a draft is being prepared and she will write a letter to the Pakistan government,'' claimed Sidhu.
He said, "the Kartarpur Sahib Gurd located in Pakistan and we want to go there to pay obeisance. So we need to initiate talks and a formal request for opening of passage should go from our side.''
"Muslims go to mosque, Christians go to church, Jews pray at wailing wall. We go to Kailash Mansarovar, Tirupati. But since 1947, Sikhs could not go to their own Mecca Kartarpur Sahib. We are forbidden, please allow us to go to Kartarpur Sahib," Sidhu said.
"The appointment was taken in advance and the minister said that the draft of the letter was ready and would soon be sent to Pakistan,'' he said and added former minister MS Gill accompanied him on his request as he had been pursuing the issue for long.
When asked about Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal's claim that he was reprimanded by Swaraj during the meeting in Delhi on Monday, Sidhu refused to comment on the matter.
"I have nothing to say. They can abuse me as much as they want. Politics and religion should be separate," he said. Interestingly Union Minister VK Singh said on Monday had said that India has not received any proposal from Pakistan to open the Kartarpur Corridor.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Harsimrat Badal said "the cat is out of the bag".
"It is now clear that there is no Pakistan proposal to open the Kartarpur corridor. The same has been officially announced by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Now it is clear that Sidhu deliberately lied to the people and claimed he had received an assurance about opening of the Kartarpur corridor from Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to ward off criticism for hugging the General.
"Now Rahul Gandhi should disclose whether Sidhu went to Pakistan for his friend Imran Khan's swearing-in ceremony with his blessings and whether he was also part of the conspiracy to play with the sentiments of the Sikh community. If not then Rahul should expel Sidhu from the Congress party immediately for betraying the people of the country and disrespecting our martyrs.''
In a frontal attack on Sidhu, she challenged him to show proof of clearance given by Pakistan government to open the Kartarpur corridor.
"Also if Sidhu is such close friends with Imran Khan as claimed by him he should tell his friend to give a letter stating it was ready to open the Kartarpur corridor and we will take up this issue with our government to get it ratified. He should also ask his friend to stop the killings on the international border and stop exporting terror to India".
She claimed that Sidhu had even resorted to mischievous conduct yesterday by using senior Congress leader MS Gill to take time from the External Affairs Minister and then tagging along with Gill to meet Sushma Swaraj. "This is the reason Sushma snubbed Sidhu and asked him why he used the political clearance given to him to visit Pakistan to act in this irresponsible unpatriotic manner which had hurt the sentiments of people of the country.
It is shameful that Sidhu even lied about the meeting with the External Affairs Minister to the media by claiming the ministry would act on his request. The truth is that Swaraj refused to entertain him at all,'' she claimed.