Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday addressed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as his 'elder brother' and raked a controversy -- a repeat of 2018 when he visited Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of the latter and hugged the army chief there.
Sidhu made the assertion of "bada bhai" (elder brother) while interacting with the CEO of the Kartarpur project in Pakistan.
He was in Kartarpur along with several Punjab cabinet ministers to pay obeisance in Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
Sidhu also said he has lots of love for the Pakistan Prime Minister.
Responding to Sidhu's remarks, BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya slammed the Congress high-command for favouring 'Pakistan loving Sidhu over veteran Amarinder Singh'.
"Rahul Gandhi's favourite Navjot Singh Sidhu calls Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan his 'bada bhai'. Last time he had hugged Gen Bajwa, Pakistan Army's Chief, heaped praises.
"Is it any surprise that the Gandhi siblings chose a Pakistan loving Sidhu over veteran Amarinder Singh?" asked Malviya.
In 2018, Sidhu raked a controversy when he hugged Pakistan Army chief General Bajwa during his visit to Pakistan for Imran Khan's oath-taking ceremony.
After returning from Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, Sidhu demanded opening of the corridor for cross-border trade.
"I request that if you want to change Punjab's life, we should open the borders. Why should we go through Mundra Port, a total of 2,100-km? Why not from here (Kartarpur corridor), where it's only 21-km (to Pakistan)," he told the media.
Without mincing words, Sidhu thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Prime Minister Imran Khan for reopening the corridor.
Responding to the controversy over Sidhu's calling Khan his "bada bhai", Punjab minister Pargat Singh, who was accompanying Sidhu during his visit to Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, said: "When PM Modi goes (to Pakistan) he is a "Desh Premi", when Sidhu goes, he is "Desh Drohi". Can't I call you a brother? We follow Guru Nanak Dev's philosophy."
However, Sidhu's Congress party MP Manish Tewari slammed him for his "bada bhai" remark.
"Imran Khan may be anybody's elder brother but for India he is that cat's paw of Pakistan deep state ISI-military combine that drones arms and narcotics into Punjab and sends terrorists on a daily basis across LOC in J&K. Have we forgotten martyrdom of our soldiers in Poonch so soon?" Tewari asked in a tweet.
In 2018, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said his Cabinet minister Sidhu's hug to Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad was "not a nice gesture and was completely avoidable".
Sidhu should have avoided indulging in such a gesture when Indian soldiers are getting killed every day on the borders, the Chief Minister had said.
"After all, it is the Army chief who gives orders to kill, with soldiers merely following the order," the Chief Minister had added.