This Article is From Jan 16, 2017

Navjot Singh Sidhu Says Joining Congress 'My Ghar Wapasi'

Navjot Singh Sidhu has called his joining the Congress as "Ghar-Wapsi" or homecoming

Highlights

  • Mr Sidhu declared himself a 'born Congressman' after joining the party
  • Mr Sidhu quit BJP in September complaining that he had been sidelined
  • It is not clear if he will be offered deputy Chief Minister's post
New Delhi:

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu declared himself a "born Congressman" after formally joining the party following weeks of negotiations ahead of the Punjab election next month. He is set to contest the February 4 Punjab assembly polls from Amritsar East, a part of the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented from 2004 to 2014, as a member of the BJP.

"This is my ghar wapsi," said Mr Sidhu, who quit the BJP in September complaining that he had been sidelined.

Asked whether he was ready to work under the Congress' chief ministerial candidate Captain Amarinder Singh, who was believed to have swallowed his reservations to fall in line with his party's decision, Mr Sidhu quipped: "If Lalu (Yadav) and Nitish (Kumar) can come together, why can't Amarinder Singh and I?

The same question, a few moments later, drew an even more dramatic allegory - "If two nations can resolve issues sitting across table then why can't two individuals."

Amarinder Singh's absence was noticed yesterday when Mr Sidhu tweeted a photo of his meeting with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi presaging an announcement.

The Captain later said he had congratulated Mr Sidhu on the phone.

During weeks of meetings, Mr Sidhu is believed to have demanded four to five assembly seats for his associates, besides the Amritsar parliamentary seat vacated by Amarinder Singh.

It is also not clear whether Mr Singh has agreed to Mr Siddhu's reported claim for the office of Deputy Chief Minister in case of a Congress victory.

Mr Sidhu said today that he is willing to work under anyone the Congress high command decides.

"Navjot Singh Sidhu's fight is for the redemption of Punjab, it is not an individual battle. I can't see the youth dying slowly," he said, referring to the state's notorious drug problem, depicted in the film "Udta Punjab".

Targeting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family, he joked: "Bhaag baaba Badal bhaag, kursi khaali kar (run, Badal, run, get off your seat)", twisting the popular film title "Bhaag Milkha, Bhaag".

On his first party, the BJP, he said: "They chose the alliance, I chose Punjab."