Rumoured to be planning to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national leadership to give him a “bigger role” and not keep him “marginalised”.
Sidhu hinted that the BJP national leadership might nominate him for a Rajya Sabha seat that would fall vacant in Punjab in April. He left his wife, Punjab chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, to do the talking on his behalf. “Yes, my husband has approached the party’s national leadership and asked for a meaningful role in Punjab politics,” she told HT over telephone.
The AAP has denied that Sidhu is going to join its fast-emerging unit in Punjab as convener. Party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal had thrown him the invitation during an HT leadership summit in Delhi about 10 days ago. “He is waiting for a decision from our party, and would work accordingly,” said the CPS, hinting that she would like to move on with her husband. “I am in politics because of my husband,” she said.
She denied that her husband eyed the post of state BJP president. “Badal Saab (Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal) would not let it happen. He will break the alliance,” she said, followed by a hearty laugh. Counting her husband’s contribution to the BJP, she said: “Look at his role during the assembly elections in Haryana, Delhi and now Bihar, where he was assigned to address 50 rallies.”
BJP’s national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna’s term in the Rajya Sabha will end on April 9 next year, and from looking after party affairs in Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, he is keen to move on to national politics. The BJP is hunting for a suitable replacement.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, who won three consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar (from 2004 to 2014) was in the last polls made to move out of the constituency to accommodate senior leader Arun Jaitely (now Union finance minister). Jaitely lost to Captain Amarinder Singh. The BJP leadership in Punjab considers him an important leader but don’t want a key role for him in state politics.