Navjot Singh Sidhu met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday with speculation rife that the cricketer-turned-politician could soon join the 130-year-old party and contest the upcoming polls against Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal or his son and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.
However, Sidhu also has the option of contesting from Amritsar East, a seat held till recently by his wife Navjot Kaur.
The former BJP MP is expected to suggest his choice to the Congress leadership after he joins, which is likely to take place on Saturday.
A Congress strategist said that by fielding Sidhu or any other high-profile leader against the SAD brass, the party wanted to give the signal that it was going to take the battle to the Badal camp. Youth Congress chief Raja Amarinder Singh Brar (Warring), who has been declared the party candidate from his sitting constituency Gidderbaha, had already expressed his desire to contest against either of the two Badals.
The AAP has already announced candidates who will contest against the Badal father-son duo. While Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh will contest from Lambi seat against the CM, Lok Sabha MP Bhagwant Mann will be fighting against Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad.
Earlier in the day, the Congress released its third list of 23 candidates but kept on hold the names of candidates from 17 remaining seats, including Amritsar East and Ludhiana East from where former union minister and national spokesperson Manish Tewari is also seeking a ticket.