Navjot Sidhu's Adviser Quits After Congress's Ultimatum Over Remark

Malvinder Singh Mali, in Facebook posts, had suggested that both India and Pakistan were illegal occupants in Kashmir.

Malvinder Singh Mali's remarks caused huge embarrassment to Navjot Sidhu (File)

Chandigarh:

Malvinder Singh Mali quit as Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu's adviser today, day after the party threatened to dismiss him over his controversial remarks if Mr Sidhu failed to remove him.    

In Facebook posts last week, Mr Mali suggested that both India and Pakistan were illegal occupants in Kashmir. In another post, he wrote on the Taliban: "Now it is their responsibility to protect Sikhs and Hindus. They will rule to improve the condition of the country, not like before."

Mr Mali blamed anti-Sikh forces for targeting him and derailing the Punjab model, citing them as reasons for his quitting as adviser to Mr Sidhu.

"Punjab, Punjabi Community cooperation, and anti-Sikh forces, that do not tolerate the emerging Punjab model... have a nefarious design to derail the dialogue that has started taking shape and to push me to jump into the struggle with tied hands, which is not acceptable to me and rejecting the same I humbly submit that I withdraw my consent given for tendering suggestions to Navjot Singh Sidhu," Mr Mali said in a statement on Facebook.

Putting a lid on the controversy, Congress Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat said the remarks have been disowned by the adviser and the matter ends there.

"I will meet Rahul ji tomorrow...He (Navjot Singh Sidhu's adviser) has disowned his remark on Pakistan and Kashmir, so the matter ends there," said Harish Rawat.

Calling the established politics of Punjab "by and large devoid of intellect", Mr Mali said he will continue his relentless struggle against the politics "laden with narrow personal interests".

The former adviser said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, party MP Manish Tiwari, SAD's Sukhbir Badal, AAP's Raghav Chadha were to be blamed if he faces any physical harm.

"The hateful campaign launched against my ideas by political leaders, and the same if results in physical harm to me, for the same Captain Amarinder Singh, Vijay Inder Singla, Manish Tewari, Sukhbir Badal, Bikram Majithia, BJP secretary Subhash Sharma, AAP leaders from Delhi Raghav Chadha and Jarnail Singh, shall be responsible," he continued.

On Sunday, Amarinder Singh mounted a strong public attack at Mr Sidhu's advisers over comments that he said were "potentially dangerous" to the peace and stability of Punjab and the country and "totally misplaced and antagonistic" to the stated position of India and the Congress on Pakistan and Kashmir. Expressing shock, he urged Mr Sidhu to rein in his advisers before they ended up doing more damage to India's interests.

Pyare Lal Garg, another adviser, had questioned Amarinder Singh's criticism of Pakistan.

The remarks threatened to derail the fragile peace brokered between the Chief Minister and Navjot Sidhu ahead of the state elections early next year.

Navjot Sidhu on August 11 had appointed Malvinder Singh Mali, a former government teacher and political analyst, and Pyare Lal Garg, a former registrar of Baba Farid University of Health and Sciences, as his advisers to seek their "wise counsel".