Punjab 2017

Sherry on Top: Sidhu has no ‘ifs and buts’

Carrying Congress colours: Navjot Singh Sidhu with the Congress’s Punjab election in-charge, Asha Kumari, and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

A day after he met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu formally joined the party on Monday, saying he was a “born Congressman” returning to his roots — his father Bhagwant Singh Sidhu, a freedom fighter, had been with the Congress for 40 years.

Though he refused to comment on who would be projected as the chief ministerial candidate in poll-bound Punjab, Mr. Sidhu — Sherry to cricket fans — stressed that he was willing to work under anybody appointed by the party high command and contest from whichever seat the party wanted him to.

Asked if he would like to be the party’s chief ministerial candidate, the former BJP MP quoted a pithy proverb, “Gehun khet mein aur beta pet mein aur aap byah ki baat kar rahe ho (the crop is still in the field and the child is still in the womb; yet you talk of nuptials),” implying that it was premature to talk about the issue. The Congress has not declared a chief ministerial candidate, though it is contesting the polls under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh.

Unlike the usual staid Congress press conference, Mr. Sidhu marked his with the one liners his TV audiences had been regaled with for long.

“In politics there are no ifs and buts. If my aunt had a moustache, I would have called her uncle,” he cracked one.

Attacks Akalis

But much of Mr. Sidhu’s interaction was marked by a frontal attack on the Shiromani Akali Dal-led government in Punjab. “I am not here for my personal agenda but for the redemption of Punjab,” he said and accused the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister of looting and pauperising the State. He also promised to work to make the State drug-free. Without naming any BJP leader, he said the machinations of “Manthra” (a maid in the epic Ramayana who convinces Queen Kaikeyi that her son, Bharat, should be king of Ayodhya) made him leave Amritsar which he had represented in the Lok Sabha for four terms.

At a 30-minute press conference, he was welcomed into the party by senior leader Ajay Maken and AICC secretary Asha Kumari, who is in charge of party affairs in Punjab On his differences with Captain Amarinder Singh, his answer was: when two nations can sort out their problems by sitting across the table, why couldn’t two individuals resolve differences.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 6:33:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-2017/Sherry-on-Top-Sidhu-has-no-%E2%80%98ifs-and-buts%E2%80%99/article17047513.ece

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