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My wife never lies, says Sidhu; Punjab CM clarifies

Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday defended his wife's remarks blaming the state Congress leadership for denying her a ticket from Amritsar.

Reacting to his colleague's assertion, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought to clarify that Sidhu's wife was offered either Amritsar or Bathinda seat, "but she refused to contest on either of the seat."

"My wife has that much strength and moral authority that she will never lie. This is my answer," Sidhu told reporters when asked about his wife's allegations that she was denied party ticket from Amritsar at the instance of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and party's Punjab affairs in-charge Asha Kumari.

Navjot Kaur, a former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Amritsar (East), on May 14 blamed the Chief Minister for denying her a Lok Sabha ticket either from Chandigarh or Amritsar.

She said Sidhu would not campaign for his party in his home state as the Chief Minister has told him not to do so.

Hours after his wife's claim, Sidhu said at an election rally in Bathinda in the presence of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and Amarinder Singh that he would be returning to Punjab on May 17 to deliver a "knockout punch" to the Badals.

Amid reports that the Minister's health was not allowing him to campaign, his wife also blamed Asha Kumari for not allowing Sidhu to campaign in Punjab.

"Captain Saab is our smaller captain and (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi is our bigger captain and he has given duty to him (Sidhu) in other states and Navjot is busy campaigning there," she told reporters in Amritsar city.

"When Captain saab and Asha Kumari have taken the lead role in ensuring victory of the party in all (13) seats, then what is the need for Navjot (Sidhu) to campaign in Punjab?"

Denying any role in candidature for Sidhu's wife from Chandigarh, the Chief Minister said she had been offered ticket from Amritsar and Bathinda, but she refused.

Ticket allocation was done by the top Congress leaders in Delhi, and they had chosen not to accept Navjot Kaur's application for ticket to contest from Chandigarh, he said, adding that Chandigarh was not under Punjab and he had no role in selection of candidate from the city.

However, had he been asked, he would have frankly told the high command that Pawan Bansal, the chosen candidate of the party from Chandigarh, was a better choice, said Amarinder Singh in an informal chat with mediapersons.

To another question, the Chief Minister said he would take responsibility and would quit if the Congress was wiped out in the state in these Lok Sabha elections. All ministers and MLAs have been made responsible for the Congress party's performance in the state, and he shared the responsibility with them, said Amarinder Singh.

--IANS

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