Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, and former hockey captain Pargat Singh will join the Congress in New Delhi next Monday, a move that can give a boost to the party ahead of next year’s assembly election in Punjab.
Though there was no official word on the 53-year-old Sidhu’s next step, Congress sources said he too will join the party at an “appropriate time”.
Earlier this year, Sidhu and his wife quit the Bharatiya Janata Party, a partner in the state’s ruling coalition , setting off speculations about joining Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.
But in September, Sidhu formed Awaaz-e-Punjab and joined hands with three top voices against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance -- Pargat and Ludhiana-based powerful independent state lawmakers and brothers Simarjeet and Balwinder Singh Bains, who recently formalised an alliance with the AAP.
“I am pleased to announce that Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu (a former MLA who represented Amritsar in Punjab Vidhan Sabha) and Pargat Singh will be formally joining Congress on November 28,” Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh tweeted late on Wednesday after meeting them at his official residence in New Delhi.
Sidhu, who is in Mumbai, was not present at the meeting.
Amarinder also said the joining of like-minded people will strengthen the Congress ahead of the polls.
The move was believed to have been finalised in a meeting of Navjot Kaur and Pargat, who has quit the ruling SAD, with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Sources said Sidhu, a former BJP MP, will be the star campaigner of the Congress in the election due early next year, and his wife and Pargat will contest the assembly polls.
With Amarinder formally submitting his resignation from Amritsar parliamentary seat to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday, the Congress is likely to offer Sidhu to contest on its ticket from the constituency.
The move, a senior Congress functionary said, will “address the concerns” of both Sidhu and Amarinder.
Sidhu had announced he will not align with Amarinder, and the Punjab Congress chief had asked the party high command to clear the air on the CM face if the former cricketer was brought on board.