Lok Sabha election: Sidhu says no to Rahul Gandhi’s Bathinda seat offer to wife
The Congress high command has formally asked Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu whether his wife Navjot Kaur could contest from the Bathinda Lok Sabha.
But Sidhu has conveyed to the party top bosses that he would not be able to do justice to his wife’s campaign. Kaur had applied for ticket to contest from Chandigarh from where the party has yet again fielded its old warhorse Pawan Kumar Bansal. Bathinda is being seen as the big fight in Punjab as it is represented by Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.
“I am honoured by the offer, but I told the party that I will not be able to canvass in Bathinda for my wife while crisscrossing the country for the party’s campaign. It will not be fair to her or to the party,” said Sidhu, who was on Thursday campaigning at Wayanad in Kerala, the second seat from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
The waiting game is still on between the Congress and the Akalis on Bathinda and Ferozepur seats ever since Sukhbir has given indications that both he and Harsimrat could contest from the two segments.
But the Congress does not wish to prolong the battle of wits as April 29 is the last day for filing nominations for Punjab which goes to polls in the last phase on May 19.
“The Badals have nothing to lose. They are fighting for their survival and desperate to win at least one seat, Bathinda or Ferozepur. We were waiting for them to reveal their candidates to know who to field against the Badals. Maybe Harsimrat or Sukhbir might not contest at all. There are now reports that former CM Parkash Singh Badal may fight from Bathinda,” said state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.
The party is also learnt to have taken the mind of finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who contested against Harsimrat in the last polls but lost. Manpreet who had refused to fight earlier, seems to have softened his stand. On whether he had declined the Bathinda offer, Manpreet said discussions are on and they will arrive at a solution that’s best for Punjab. Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, former Indian Youth Congress chief, is also among the probables.
BJP SCARED BY MY CAMPAIGN: SIDHU
Sidhu brushed aside the controversy over his remarks at a rally in Bihar where he was reported to have asked Muslims to vote en bloc against the BJP. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no answers to my questions and the BJP is getting jittery of the crowds at my rallies. So, they are creating controversies by distorting my statements. I challenge them to answer my posers first,” Sidhu said.