Navjot Sidhu and Arvind Kejriwal aren’t exactly made for each other, primarily because they are made like each other! They’re celebrities. Are strongheaded, love being in the limelight they’d not share. Or do so grudgingly.
If they decide to work together, they’d need to have their birth-charts matched.
But it takes no punditry to know there aren’t, in the game of power, any permanent enemies or friends.
Poll results in the event of Arvind having Sidhu by his side in Punjab could be a no-brainer. Together, they’d be formidable, almost invincible — subject, of course, to clause force majeure.
The Latin word for “superior force” fits so well in their case. For they’ll have to guard against the force of their own personae: strong, self-righteous, adapt at playing first violinists, never the second fiddle.
The ‘will they, won’t they’ quandary remains because Navjot Sidhu, in his first media interaction after quitting the Rajya Sabha, slammed the Akalis and lashed out against his erstwhile party. But gave no whiff of his future plans.
So, there’s no finality yet about the former cricketer joining the AAP; the terms of engagement he’s seeking or has on offer from the party where there’s resistance within to his projection as CM. AAP’s Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur is on record saying if Sidhu joins, he’ll only campaign and not contest.
Now what does one make of that?
Is he going to be for the AAP what Priyanka Gandhi could be for the Congress in UP? A force-multiplier! Or will he go around endorsing the party as Punjab’s best bet amid all-round despondence? The way Anna Hazare certified Kejriwal after he swept Delhi: “Arvind will make a good CM who’d work for the poor.”
Let’s study the scenario from Kejriwal’s standpoint. He’s his party’s maker, promoter and navigator. Sidhu was busy doing TV shows — deciding not to show up in the 2014 polls on being denied a BJP ticket from Amritsar — when the AAP struck roots in Punjab. For him it’s one thing to have Sidhu by his side, and another to have him in his place.
If at all, Punjab, as a full-fledged state, will afford the AAP what’s denied to it in Delhi — a level turf to govern.
The win in the sensitive border state has to be
flaunted elsewhere to drive home Kejriwal’s national appeal. There’s no equity on offer in the credit for a victory there.
In contrast, Navjot Sidhu is propelled by his distaste for the Akalis who did him in so often in cahoots with the BJP. He isn’t as much driven by ambition as by democratic revenge. An opening lies there perhaps for him and any future ally.
“I resigned because I was being told (by BJP) to stay away from Punjab,” he said, declaring: “I can’t be a bystander in a holy war…” But he let the mystery be, not saying on which side should he be counted —now that he has stood up to be counted against the coalition in power.