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With 20 rallies in a week, Congress’ Navjot Singh Sidhu on campaign blitz in Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan

A plan has been drawn up for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the cricketer-turned-politician from Punjab, to campaign in the three of the five election bound states. Starting Friday, he will visit Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 16, 2018 15:36 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
assembly elections 2018,navjot singh sidhu,assembly elections 2018 news
Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Punjab tourism minister, will campaign for Congress in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, addressing 20 rallies in one week. (PTI File )

Star campaigner for Congress Navjot Singh Sidhu will need to put his best foot forward as he is set to address 20 public meetings in three states within a week.

A plan has been drawn up for the cricketer-turned-politician from Punjab to campaign in the three of the five election bound states. Starting Friday, he will visit Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Known for his oratory skills and trademark “Sidhuisms”, an assortment of one-liners, the Punjab tourism minister is going to be the “star vote-catcher” for the Congress after party chief Rahul Gandhi who has been crisscrossing all the five poll-bound states since September.

“I will start campaigning in Chhattisgarh tomorrow,” Sidhu said on Thursday. “The first day is packed with five rallies.”

While the second phase of polling in Chhattisgarh begins on November 20, single-phase polling will take place in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram on November 28. Telangana and Rajasthan will go to poll on December 7. The counting of votes for all five states will take place on December 11.

On an average, 55-year-old Sidhu, a former BJP MP who joined the Congress in 2017, will be addressing four rallies a day.

In Chhattisgarh, he will campaign in 13 rural and urban localities including Raipur, Sakti, Bilaspur, Patan, and Ahiwara, within three days. From November 19 onwards, he will be in Madhya Pradesh, following which he will travel through Rajasthan in four days.

A Congress functionary said Sidhu could match the high-pitched campaign of BJP leaders, especially Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who has raised the pitch over the Ram Temple issue.

While the Sikhs constitute 0.27% of Chhattisgarh’s 25.5 million population, the community accounts for 0.21% of the 75 million population in Madhya Pradesh. Sikhs constitute 1.27% of Rajasthan’s 68 million-population.

Raipur-based political analyst Ashok Tomar said Sidhu will be a star attraction among the young voters. “Being a former cricketer and also a part of the popular comedy show, he will attract young voters who are disillusioned over growing unemployment in Chhattisgarh,” he said.

Sidhu, who retired from all forms of cricket in 1999, was part of a popular television show called ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’, among other comedy shows.

First Published: Nov 16, 2018 11:10 IST