Even as many saw the induction of Rajya Sabha MP Navjot Singh Sidhu into the Punjab BJP core committee last week as his return to the poll-bound state’s political arena, his wife and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Friday declared he won’t attend meetings of the panel till the party remains in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“Shukar karo main aa gyi! Hun BJP de palle ki bacheya hai Punjab vich? (It’s enough that I have come! What’s left of the BJP in Punjab now?),” she remarked on the sidelines of a BJP state executive meet in Jalandhar. “He (Sidhu) will not be part of any meeting or programme at which Punjab is discussed in alliance with the Akali Dal,” said Dr Sidhu, who is the BJP MLA from Amritsar-East.
On the issue of the state’s drug menace too, she dropped a bombshell, saying that illicit drugs in Punjab were being “ferried in red-beacon (official) vehicles”. This is in contrast to the BJP’s solidarity with the Akali argument, that the issue was a ploy to defame Punjab.
The Sidhu couple has been at loggerheads with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and his son and deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, over alleged government bias against Amritsar which they see as an effort to erode their political standing.
A former cricketer known for his aggression on the field, Sidhu remained Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar (2004-14) before bowing out in favour of (now-finance minister) Arun Jaitley’s candidature.
“Even when Jaitley contested, he never came to campaign,” Dr Sidhu told HT from Amritsar later, “because he never wanted to share the stage with the Badals”. Jaitley had lost that election.
After speculation that the couple would join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Sidhu was sent to the Upper House by the BJP in April. Yet, he had said he won’t campaign in the Punjab assembly elections due early next year if the SAD-BJP alliance continued.