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Home / India News / He is welcome, says AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal on buzz around Navjot Sidhu

He is welcome, says AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal on buzz around Navjot Sidhu

Navjot Sidhu had been sulking in the Congress for months before he finally announced his exit from the Amarinder Singh cabinet on July 14.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2020 23:48 IST
hindustantimes.com | Edited by Aloke Tikku
hindustantimes.com | Edited by Aloke Tikku
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with Navjot Singh Sidhu during an event at Jalandhar, Punjab in September 2018.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with Navjot Singh Sidhu during an event at Jalandhar, Punjab in September 2018. (Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

Amid swirling speculation around ex-Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s next moves, Aam Aadmi Party boss Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that the 56-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is welcome to join the party.

“He is welcome,” Kejriwal told news channel News18 India in an interview on Thursday. The Delhi chief minister initially appeared to distance himself from the buzz that suggests his party had reached out to the Amritsar East MLA. Kejriwal told the channel that he had “no idea” about reports that his party was in touch with Sidhu via interlocutor.

But asked if Sidhu was welcome to the party, Kejriwal smiled, and said: “he is welcome”.

The Delhi chief minister didn’t respond to a follow-up question. “Now you are talking of politics in times of corona(virus), I can’t even elaborate,” the chief minister said, promising to answer questions on politics on a later date.

Navjot Sidhu had been sulking in the Congress for months before he finally announced his exit from the Amarinder Singh cabinet on July 14. Sidhu’s last message on the micro-blogging platform is to declare that he had vacated his ministerial bungalow. Then, Sidhu went into silent mode.

When he launched a YouTube channel, Jittega Punjab (Punjab will win) in mid-March, it was seen as the first step towards his political resurrection.

In one of the early videos, Sidhu announced a ‘dharm yudh’ against the state’s system for what he described as its “salvation”. The national lockdown that came a few days later did appear to have slowed down that process.

But back home in Punjab, local reports indicate that he had stepped up his involvement with his constituents in Amritsar and beyond as well.

The buzz about his possible shift came soon after. On and off social media, there is speculation that he was in touch with AAP via election strategist Prashant Kishor. Neither Sidhu nor Prashant Kishor have confirmed or denied the speculation.

But for Sidhu, this wouldn’t be the first time that he has been reported to be looking at AAP as an option.

In 2016 before he quit the BJP, his party of 12 years, Navjot Sidhu had received public invitations from AAP leaders in Punjab and Delhi to join their party.

Sidhu, however, had surprised AAP leaders when word came that he would join the Congress. A party Awaaz-e-Punjab that he had launched, reportedly as a backup plan, fell apart soon after.

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