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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Navjot Sidhu: ‘Suffocation’ neither new nor sudden

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, April 12, 2013
First Published: 00:31 IST(12/4/2013) | Last Updated: 19:15 IST(12/4/2013)

When Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife vented her ire on her husband being “made to feel suffocated”, it kicked up a row in political circles, but the feeling of suffocation is neither new nor sudden.

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The BJP’s star campaigner — even for Gujarat polls in December — was a national secretary during former party chief Nitin Gadkari’s regime, but did not find a place in Rajnath’s new team. Instead, senior leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla was made the national vice-president. Sidhu was further ignored when the party’s new state and district teams were formed.

While this might have been the last straw, the maverick cricketer-commentator has seen political relationships sour over the years.

Sidhu entered politics with a bang by defeating Congress stalwart RL Bhatia by more than 100,000 votes in 2004. In 2009, he won third time in a row, but was on a sticky wicket as he barely managed to scrape through by 6,000 votes.

It was from here that differences with party leaders started. Sidhu’s victory was credited to votes in rural constituencies on Akali Dal support. Elsewhere, in the city, he had lost base.

The first major standoff was when the newly minted MP objected to Rajinder Mohan Singh Chinna’s appointment as the Amritsar Improvement Trust chairman. Sidhu won that battle but rifts only got wider.

Differences over seat-sharing in 2012 municipal polls soured relations with SAD, too. Finally, in October 2012 Sidhu packed up his bags to enter the Bigg Boss house. .

While Sidhu is keeping mum, his namesake wife has taken to ‘restoring his honour’.

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