Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Congress has to pay for his cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to Pakistan.
"The loss of Bathinda for the Congress is because of Sidhu's reckless remarks on the desecration of the religious texts in 2015," he told reporters here.
"Indians will not tolerate anyone hugging the Pakistan Army chief," the Chief Minister, who once served in the Indian Army, said.
The Congress in Punjab is set to win at least eight of the 13 seats.
The Chief Minister's wife Preneet Kaur managed to win the Patiala seat again and that too with a record margin. This is her fourth victory.
“The Congress performance at the national level notwithstanding, the outcome of the Bathinda seat would decide the future course of action by Punjab Congress leaders, who are gunning for Sidhu.
“A victory for Bathinda’s SAD candidate Harsimrat Badal would not only demoralise the top Congress leadership, but would also go against Navjot Singh Sidhu,” said a senior party leader.
However, with Sidhu having aggressively campaigned for the Congress across the country, his image as a star campaigner could work to his advantage even as several of Sidhu’s cabinet colleagues have called for disciplinary action against him for his “friendly match” dig against Amarinder.
This is not the first time Sidhu has had a standoff with the CM. Earlier, Sidhu was cornered by his cabinet colleagues over his “my captain” remark after an unsavoury controversy had erupted in November last year over Pakistan’s invite for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, which Amarinder had declined.