Sidhu falters in bid for AAP Punjab CM nominee

Sidhu falters in bid for AAP Punjab CM nominee

By PANKAJ VOHRA | New Delhi | 21 August, 2016
Both AAP and Congress have refused to project the former BJP MP as their chief ministerial candidate.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership has informed cricket legend turned TV idol Navjot Singh Sidhu that he could not be the Chief Ministerial face of the party in the Punjab Assembly elections slated for early next year. However, he was further informed that he could support the AAP in the fiercely contested combat against the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance and the Congress. Sidhu, in no uncerta in terms, has been conveyed that the party could at best accommodate him or his wife in its list of candidates, but both would not be given the AAP nomination as it was against the existing policy. In addition, he was told that his supporters could not take for granted that they would be distributed AAP tickets. In other words, the criteria for granting tickets would be the eligibility factor and the natural corollary would be that the party workers would get preference.

A dejected Sidhu, who was hoping to strike a major political bargain, thus sought more time to think. AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, in a series of tweets on Friday, clarified his party’s stand. He conceded that his meeting with the erstwhile cricketer last week had remained inconclusive and Sidhu had made no demands. Significantly, Kejriwal stated that his respect for Sidhu would always remain intact irrespective of whether he joined the party or not, thereby leaving the issue open to interpretation that the talks had ended in a stalemate.

The AAP is confident of doing exceedingly well in Punjab and Kejriwal himself is under immense pressure to shift base from Delhi to Chandigarh, provided the party comes to power. Sidhu’s entry into AAP as its primary leader in the state is also being opposed by Bhagwant Singh Mann, the Sangrur MP, and AAP convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. It is obvious that both believe that Sidhu could push them out of any reckoning given his star status.

Sources in the AAP said that Sidhu and his wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a BJP MLA from Amritsar, lacked political clarity. They were nebulous over their future course of action and had been either talking in riddles or were exploring the possibility of how to extract the maximum from the party’s leadership. “Ideally speaking, we would want him to be with us, but we cannot give him any assurance that he would be made the Chief Ministerial face of the party. It is likely that we may not project anyone as the CM nominee as a matter of strategy. He will have to have full faith in Kejriwal and join AAP without any preconditions. The party will take a call on his fate subsequently,” a senior AAP functionary stated.

On the other hand, the Congress has sent feelers to the noted sportsman and urged him to join the grand old party, given that his father and other members of his family were closely associated with it. Manpreet Badal, the estranged cousin of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, has publicly stated that he was ready to walk barefoot to Sidhu’s residence for him to come on board.

However, the former swashbuckling batsman is faced with a huge dilemma. It is obvious to everyone in Punjab that it would be Captain Amarinder Singh, who would be projected as the Congress’ Chief Ministerial face, thus leaving the matter non negotiable. Secondly, the best that could be sought from the Congress was the Deputy Chief Ministerial berth for his wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, a demand not easy to fulfil. Simultaneously, Sidhu could be assured that he would be the Congress nominee from Amritsar, his former seat, in case Captain Amarinder Singh, the sitting Lok Sabha member from there becomes the Chief Minister. In the event if the Congress was to lose the polls, there is every possibility that Captain Amarinder Singh may retain his Lok Sabha seat and consequently give up the Assembly seat he is expected to win from his home turf of Patiala.

Soon after his resignation from the Rajya Sabha last month, which took political circles by surprise, Sidhu had emerged as the “X” factor in Punjab due to his exceptional popularity amongst the youth. His act of quitting the Upper House, where he had been nominated by the NDA government, had provided ample indications that he would part ways with the BJP to chart his own destiny. However, in the unfolding political scenario, Sidhu has been left in the lurch by the very same people who had given him a categorical guarantee at that crucial stage. Despite his overwhelming popularity, he has been reduced to the status of a pariah in the state politics.

There has been intense pressure on him to float his own party, but it is unlikely that he would do so given that there is paucity of time and resources to organise a new political set up. The Swaraj Abhiyaan, a breakaway group of the AAP recently announced that it was considering contesting the polls in Punjab. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan may try to rope in Sidhu to help them acquire a locus standi in the state on one hand and erode the AAP’s chances on the other.

In the Olympic season where several stateless athletes from countries such as Syria and Iraq are competing under the banner of Refugee Olympic Athletes, Sidhu may end up contesting the Punjab polls as an insider, who has been forced by compelling circumstances to be the outsider.

There are 11 Comments

The overambitious Sidhu acted in pique and, irrevocably but characteristically, burned his boats with the BJP. He assumed that the Punjab CM's post is his for the asking if he joined AAP, without realising that Kejri desperately wants to rule a 'state', not the UT of Delhi, to prove that he is a 'great' politician and administrator, having failed miserably in both qualities in Delhi. Now that too is gone for Sidhu. He will not be allowed by Kejri to flourish in AAP, seeing what Kejri did to Yadav, Bhushan etc. Congress will welcome him and 'use' him, as it does all deserters of their own parties, but he will always remain only a small fish in a big pond and will never be allowed to outshine Amarender Singh etc. So, effectively, Sidhu has played every card dealt to him badly. Which is NOT a surprise really because he never was a real politician. If only 'talking' was the qualification for leadership, Kejri would have beaten everyone. Now Kejri, the great non stop blabber mouth, is himself struggling . Sidhu has bitten off more than he can chew.

There are no friends in politics. However that said, the best of the political lot by far is Modi.

Very correct indeed.

Very Correct Assesment. Siddhu in No Man's Land Fraud AKejri will try 2 become Punjab CM (If at all they win) & Give CM ship of Delhi to his Wife & Their Family will allegedly Live Happily Everafter ( Till Law+Angry Delhites Catch up with him )

well said ...blabber mouth chor khujlee

I suspect Sidhu won't be laughing now.

I think his murder case is also a big headache for him. If he joins any other party, BJP will accept the writ petition of opening his murder case and again he will not be allowed to contest elections. In a nutshell, Sidhu tried to act smart and wanted to be only and only CM of Punjab, and in that hurry/greed, he went ahead with the resignation, but BJP remained calm and cool knowing how to handle kinds of people like him and this time his murder is going to haunt him again... Plus what has he done for Punjab till now? Sher-o-shayri and thoko taalis dont do development. You have to be on ground, meet your constituency to be able to make a space, but for him, he is either laughing (for nothing) or just commenting,,,nothing on ground

TV celebrities have this problem of super egos, invincibility,indispensability,illusive mass support..... BJP nominated him in RS to compensate for his LS seat in Amritsar and would have wanted to use his oratory in RS to counter Congress. Sidhu might have thought he would be made minister.But Ahluvalia had better use for BJP than Sidhu at this juncture.He has proved that he is not a street smart politician.He should have bidded his time as RS member, campaigned actively in Punjab and used his oratory to climb up the ladder.AAP and AK are most unreliable and unethical entities.Sidhu is realising it now.

It is wrong to say that Sidhu is popular in Punjab in any section of electorate. Now he is NA GHAR KA NA GHAT KA.

Sidhu has become such a joke along with AAP's fejriwal. Fejriwal is never accept Sidhu in a leadership role in AAP because sidhu has a habbit of going out of partyline on his own. I would say BJP would be happy he has left the party. He will be a more of a nuisance than of any help.

Siddhu is talented but need to be nutured in politics. PM Modi would have been an ideal guru if only siddhu had surrendered to him givng freedom to PM to make best use of him, am sure PM likes and rewards performers.Siddhu is yet inexperienced in dirty politics of India, and PM had worked against the current and well worst with all nitty gritty to nuture Siddhu. If he can tame Swamy than he can handle anyone.

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