Signing bonus: Congress may give Sidhu a shot at being Amritsar MP
Navjot Singh Sidhu is expected to join the Congress in coming days. The party is likely to field him from Amritsar following Amarinder Singh’s resignation.india Updated: Nov 24, 2016 12:40 IST
The Congress could offer former cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is expected to join the party in the coming days, the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat that fell vacant following the resignation of Capt Amarinder Singh, sources said.
Sidhu who quit the Rajya Sabha in July and the BJP two months later, has been negotiating with both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party for a “favourable outcome” ahead of the next year’s Punjab election.
The 53-year-old seems to have settled to go with the Congress which on Wednesday announced that Sidhu’s wife, who shares his name, and former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh would join the party on November 28.
Sidhu and Pargat Singh were part of the former MP’s short-lived political front called Awaaz-e-Punjab that split on Monday after two founding leaders joined the AAP .
Sidhu, said sources, would make his move at an “appropriate time”. He would be the “star campaigner” while his wife and Pargat Singh would contest the assembly polls.
Since the Congress has said it would follow “one family, one ticket” rule while picking candidates for the 117-member Punjab assembly, it might humour the Sidhus the way it has accommodated other “power couples” in the state – one of the spouses in Parliament and the other in the assembly.
Amritsar is virtually Sidhu’s home turf though he comes from Patiala. He was elected to the Lok Sabha thrice from Amritsar, in 2004, 2006 and 2009.
The BJP fielded finance minister Arun Jaitley from the holy city in 2014 but he lost to Amarinder.
The Congress’ state chief recently quit the seat to protest a Supreme Court order asking Punjab to complete the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal, an emotive issue in the border state.
After Amarinder moved to the Lok Sabha in 2014, his wife Preneet Kaur was elected an MLA from Patiala, the seat her husband vacated.
It was the opposite earlier. During Preneet’s three stints as Patiala MP, Amarinder was the local MLA.
The musical chairs have also been played by another senior party leader Partap Singh Bajwa. When he was a member of the Lok Sabha, his wife, Charanjeet, represented Qadian in the Punjab assembly.
After Bajwa lost to BJP’s Vinod Khanna from Gurdaspur in the 2014 elections and Amarinder led a revolt against him leading to his ouster as the Punjab Congress chief, Bajwa was sent to the Rajya Sabha.
Sidhus, too, would be part of the Congress’ “balancing act”, sources said.