Congress leader Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife, has said that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh blocked her attempt to secure a Lok Sabha election nomination from Amritsar, her husband's former parliamentary constituency. Indicating that she might not campaign for the party in the state, she taunted Mr Singh, saying the "junior captain" was capable of winning all 13 seats alone.
"Captain Sahib (Amarinder Singh) and Asha Kumari think Madam Sidhu does not deserve an MP ticket. I was denied the ticket from Amritsar on the ground that I could not win in the aftermath of the Dussehra train tragedy in Amritsar last year," she was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
About 60 people were killed and 57 injured after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Joda Phatak in Amritsar. Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the event. She was given a clean chit by a Punjab government-appointed magisterial probe.
Mr Sidhu, a Congress star campaigner, is yet to address a rally in Punjab. In an interview to NDTV, he said the reason for his absence in Punjab was that he was not invited to address a rally. He claimed Mr Singh had said he would alone win Punjab for the party. Today, his wife repeated the comment.
"Look, Amarinder Singh is our junior captain. Rahul Gandhi is our senior captain. Our junior captain has said he would win all 13 seats by himself," she said.
"Captain Sahib will do the campaigning. Asha Kumari is also a star campaigner. Sidhu sahib will go wherever Rahul asks him to go," she added.
The Punjab Chief Minister and Mr Sidhu don't go along well. On many occasions, the rift between them has come on the surface. Mr Singh had issued a mild rebuke to Mr Sidhu last year over his hug to Pakistan army chief General Bajwa which snowballed into a huge political controversy.
Mr Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur was denied ticket to the constituency of her choice - Chandigarh. The seat has gone to veteran leader Pawan Bansal as part of the party's plan to retain the sitting lawmakers in the state. There was a buzz that she might be allotted the coveted Amritsar seat, from where Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had beaten BJP's Arun Jaitley in the 2014 national elections. The Congress, however, has fielded sitting lawmaker Gurjit Singh Aujla from there.
With inputs from PTI