Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has praised Bhagwant Mann as a “honest man” and said he would rise above party lines and support the Punjab Chief Minister in any move to take on the mafia in the state.
The praise by Mr Sidhu came a day after he slammed the Punjab government over the police action against former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Kumar Vishwas and Alka Lamba and accused it of acting like a puppet of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.
In a clip of an interaction with the media, which he posted on Twitter, Mr Sidhu says the Congress needs to “reinvent” itself in Punjab to return to power. He then adds that the state is witnessing a fight between the mafia and honest people.
Mr Sidhu then goes on to praise the Chief Minister. “I consider him my younger brother. He is an honest man. I have never raised a finger at him. If he fights against it (mafia), my support is with him; I will rise above party lines because it is a fight for Punjab’s existence.”
This came a day after Mr Sidhu’s swipe at Mr Mann in which he shared a cartoon of the Chief Minister riding in the front of a scooter, named “Punjab govt” and operated by Mr Kejriwal.
“Pb Govt is acting like @ArvindKejriwal’s puppet… Police action against @DrKumarVishwas & @LambaAlka ji shows that it is being used to silence his critics… Congress stands firmly with Alka ji… Will accompany her to police station to protest against politicisation of Pb Police,” he said in the post.
Mr Vishwas, poet and former AAP leader, and Alka Lamba, who left the party to join the Congress are facing action by Punjab police over their remarks against Mr Kejriwal, a move that has sparked allegations of political vendetta.
Shortly after the AAP’s thumping win in Punjab, Mr Mann had assured the people that he would go after the mafia operating in sectors such as mining and drugs in the border state.
In remarks that raised eyebrows, Mr Sidhu, who stepped down following the Congress rout, had congratulated the people of Punjab for voting for “change”. He had also said that Mr Mann “unfurls a new anti-Mafia era in Punjab with a mountain of expectations” and wished him luck.