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Lok Sabha Elections 2019 |‘Powerless couple’: Navjot Sidhu, wife say no to Congress LS seat offer in Punjab

Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu says his party -Congress- consulted him and his wife Navjot Kaur on Amritsar seat, but they refused to contest.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 04, 2019 11:27 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
lok sabha elections 2019,navjot singh sidhu,navjot kaur sidhu
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur in Chandigarh.(HT Photo )

Disappointed at not bagging the Congress ticket from Chandigarh, the Sidhus -Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur - have decided not to accept party’s offer to contest from the state.

Navjot Singh Sidhu has a sprawling bungalow in Chandigarh. His wife Navjot Kaur would have been pitted against former minister Pawan Kumar Bansal who lost to Kirron Kher of the BJP. But the Congress has once again reposed trust in its old warhorse, Bansal.

Asked what would be the next move of the power couple, pat came Navjot Kaur’s reply: “Powerless couple”. She says there was a vacuum as Congress has not fielded a woman from Chandigarh. “I applied to fill that vacuum. I went to its villages and held public meetings. Many in villages are crying now. I would have loved it if they (Congress) had respected a lady trying to showcase her individual work. I had a vision for Chandigarh,” she says as women Congress workers led by former Chandigarh mayor Poonam Sharma, who endorsed her candidature, flock Sidhu’s office in Chandigarh.

Watch: ‘Will work for Pawan Bansal’s victory from Chandigarh:’ Navjot Kaur Sidhu

In bites to news channels and media persons, Mrs Sidhu does not forget to mention that she left her profession as a gynaecologist to devote herself to politics. Will she seek nomination from Punjab? She does not wait to answer. “Why would I? The party called us and offered us the Amritsar seat on Monday. The MLAs from Amritsar also met us. But contesting a parliamentary seat like Chandigarh is different from contesting one with nine assembly segments. Sidhu can either be campaigning across India or for me. No one else from our family is in politics. A woman cannot handle 9 assembly segments.”

There is money and other issues to be taken care of. When he was contesting the state elections, I held fort on his seat as he was holding rallies in other parts of the state. Which is why I refused to contest the Amritsar bypoll. If I do that for him, I would expect him to do the same in return. Chandigarh would have been different. It is a small seat with educated people. I could have managed it on my own,” she said.

Sidhu, who had gone incommunicado after not being allowed to speak at the Moga rally of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, chipped in. “I did not go to anyone to seek a ticket for my wife. People have fought our elections (including Kaur’s from Amritsar East seat in 2012 as BJP candidate) . And guess how much have we spent on five elections? Only Rs 45 lakh! The BJP had asked me to leave Amritsar and contest from Kurukshetra. Would I not have won? But it is not about winning. One has to later visit the constituency, buy a house, do justice with its people,” he said.

Sidhu was reportedly promised a Lok Sabha seat for his wife when he embraced the Congress in the run-up to state polls. With a section of Amritsar leaders opposing the renomination of sitting MP Gurjit Aujla, who won the seat in the bypoll after Amarinder Singh resigned over the SYL issue and later became CM, the Congress had offered the Sidhus the choice of Amritsar as well as Ferozepur and Bathinda, wherever Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal’s wife and Union minister Harsimrat Badal decides to contest.

Her eyes widening in disbelief, Kaur questions why should she go to fight against Harsimrat. “Have I ever been to these areas? Why not wives of others in the party.” Sidhu cautions her from taking any names, hands folded. Then adds, “Why can’t Harsimrat come and fight from seats Congress dares her to? We refused Amritsar as I still remember how I felt after being dislodged from there as the sitting MP.”

Saying they are loyal soldiers of the party, the Sidhus said they respect the party’s decision and will abide by it. Asked if she has congratulated Bansal and would support him, Kaur says she is looking for his contact number!

“I don’t think he will need me. But we will support him. I can go even uninvited to campaign for him. Every seat matters as we have to make Rahul the PM. Which is why Sidhu needs to campaign across India, not just for me,” she says.

Sidhu said he was not sulking after the Moga rally but was down due to health reasons. “Now I am fit as a fiddle and raring to go. The BJP is scared that I will campaign against them all over the country. Balakot made me a hero. Now, the whole country is saying the same thing. No one is buying BJP’s brand of nationalism other than some commando comic news channels,” he said.

Sidhus have had more than couple of disappointments. But Kaur says they know how to overcome them. “We only read good news in the morning. If it is bad, we shove it under the table. Finally, people judge party’s choice of a candidate.” That sums it up.

First Published: Apr 04, 2019 09:20 IST