Finally breaking his long silence, newly nominated Rajya Sabha MP Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday ruled out any bonhomie with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), saying he would not campaign for the alliance in the next Punjab assembly polls.
Talking to HT over phone after taking oath as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha in Delhi, Sidhu said, “I have no issues with the Akali Dal but with those running it. I have made it clear that I have nothing to do with the SAD, especially the Badals. So there is no point campaigning for the alliance.”
Sidhu, who was recently nominated to the Upper House, targeting the state government, especially the Badals, said, “What can I do if they choose to scuttle my projects and hatch conspiracies against me? What can I do if they fail to look into my issues after making repeated promises? I am ready for any duty in Punjab the BJP asks me to do. As far as campaigning is concerned, I will do it in the rest of the country, he added.
When reminded that his wife and chief parliamentary secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu had announced that she wouldn’t contest the polls under the SAD-BJP alliance, Sidhu said, “The SAD has meted her the same indifferent treatment. Akali leaders burnt her effigies and officers derailed her works. There is no point her contesting the polls with the alliance partners in such a situation.”
Sidhu said carrying on with the alliance in Punjab is the decision of senior party leaders, but that didn’t mean he would stand with the Akali Dal. He said, “Two years ago, I had refused the Rajya Sabha seat in lieu of relinquishing the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat for a fatherly figure (Arun Jaitley). The present nomination by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is significant for me as he is a great role model for me. If this nomination takes me towards the welfare of Punjab and India, it’s fine. If it takes me away from the welfare of my state I would rather stay away from the Rajya Sabha than from Punjab, my beloved motherland.”
He said Punjab and Amritsar had always been his priorities and if the nomination took him away from them, the Rajya Sabha would lose its significance for him.
Terming finance minister Arun Jaitley as his mentor, Sidhu said, “Two years ago also, I was offered the Rajya Sabha seat. I was also given the option to contest from Kurukshetra, Chandigarh or West Delhi, but I was resolute that I would not strike a bargain.” He said he would continue to raise his voice for Amritsar and Punjab.
Here’s what he tweeted about his RS seat-taking.