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Navjot Singh Sidhu can come without riders: Capt Amarinder

The bait thrown by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu-led Awaaz-e-Punjab to the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party has no takers, as of now.

punjab Updated: Oct 06, 2016 10:19 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Navjot Singh Sidhu
“Can one Mr Sidhu change the 120-year-old history of the Congress by putting such conditions? The party is willing to take him if he comes unconditionally,” Capt said.(HT File )

The bait thrown by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu-led Awaaz-e-Punjab to the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party has no takers, as of now.

The Congress is in no mood to accept Sidhu’s rider that his forum will align with the party on the condition that it is not led by Captain Amarinder Singh, whom he has accused of “being in cahoots with the ruling Badals”. The Punjab Congress chief had so far refrained from directly confronting Sidhu’s condition of “no truck with Amarinder-led Congress” as he has not yet been named the party’s CM candidate for the elections.

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Amarinder, who is in Delhi to welcome Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on his return from his kisan yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, said on Wednesday that Sidhu can join the Congress without riders.

“Can one Mr Sidhu change the 120-year-old history of the Congress by putting such conditions? The party is willing to take him if he comes unconditionally,” he said.

The party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Asha Kumari, who too is in Delhi, rubbished rumours that Rahul had meetings with Sidhu. “Rahul was in UP and is returning on Thursday. How could he have had meetings with Sidhu? We are here to receive Rahul at 3pm and after that Amarinder will leave for his programme in Amritsar. No separate meeting is slated for Thursday. Sidhu will have to approach the Congress if he wants to align with us,” she said.

Ball in Sidhu’s court, says AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too has so far been cold to Sidhu’s offer to ally with either the Congress or the AAP. Its Punjab affairs co-incharge Sanjay Singh said, “The AAP is a new hope for Punjab and I don’t think Sidhu will play any role that affects the state’s future. It is up to him to approach us.”

Once bitten twice shy, the AAP does not want to make the first move by inviting Sidhu for talks. “We are open to all good people. We had reached out to Sidhu earlier. Now it is his call if he wants to join us,” AAP state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich (Ghuggi) said. According to AAP sources, Sidhu was offered a good deal earlier but the former cricketer floated a forum and blasted AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for trying to use him as a “piece of decoration”.

Both the AAP and Congress are wary of Sidhu’s flip-flops. “Sidhu chose to take on Amarinder to derail any move to announce him as the CM candidate. The Congress cannot do so at this juncture when the entire campaign is centered around Amarinder. No party will offer him CM candidature on a platter,” a senior Congress MLA said.

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