Sidhu Moosewala, a controversial singer known to flaunt guns and police cases in his song videos, joined the Congress today in the run-up to the Punjab election early next year. Both Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu welcomed him aboard.
The Punjabi rapper is likely to contest the polls from Mansa, his hometown.
Sidhu Moosewala, 28, faces many cases that accuse him of glorifying guns and violence through his songs. But Navjot Sidhu stonewalled questions on the subject.
"Why are you asking about issues which are subjudice? Let the people of Punjab decide about him. The media should not decide," Mr Sidhu told reporters.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi added: "He has won the hearts of everyone. He is a son of a farmer and his father is an ex-army officer. I am sure he will make Congress party proud, I welcome him on behalf of Congress."
Navjot Sidhu later also tweeted a photo with the newest Congress recruit, calling him "champ".
Sidhu Moosewala, whose favoured theme is to depict the charms of bucolic life in his videos, has also been accused of glorifying caste divides. His "gangster rap" has a sizeable fan following.
He belongs to the "Moosa village" in Mansa and his mother is a village sarpanch.
Responding to media questions, he said: "This is my first press conference. Just three years back I started singing. Now four years later I am taking a new step. Mansa is not that developed... a part of this area raised me, so I will raise my voice from here."
Sidhu Moosewala, whose real name is Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, studying engineering and took to music in college.
Last year, he was charged in an FIR with promoting violence and gun culture with his song "Sanju". The case was filed after images showing him firing an AK-47 rifle at a firing range during the Covid lockdown went viral.
In the song, Sidhu Moosewala appears to brag about the cases against him.
Then Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had expressed concern over violence and guns in Punjabi songs and had directed the state police not to spare singers who "misled" the youth.
Amarinder Singh quit the Congress after he was replaced as Chief Minister in September.