Former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday launched a tirade at the BJP and the Akali Dal blaming them for the ruins caused in Punjab, a state that he said was the symbol of green revolution.
In his first media interaction since joining Congress, Sidhu said that he was a born Congressman and by joining the party he had only come to his roots.
“Log kehte hain Sidhu party ko Maa kehta tha. Lekin Maa to Kaikayi bhi thi. Sabko pata hai Manthara kaun hai Punjab mein,” he said.
He said, “My fight is not personal. It’s for the redemption of Punjab. How is that the state that provided food to others became a beggar. Akali Dal used to be a pious party, but it has now become a private property. I will tell people in Punjabi how the state became burdened with Rs 2 lakh crore debt. I will tell people where and how you sold Punjab. I will expose you (Akali and BJP).?”
Taking a cue from Bollywood film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Sidhu said, “Bhaag baaba Badal bhaag, kursi khaali kar, Punjab ki janta aati hai.”
He said that drugs were a reality in Punjab and lives of youth were being destroyed.
On whether it was a political opportunism for him to join the Congress party, the former India cricketer said that there was nothing wrong in his decision.
He said, “If two nations can resolve issues sitting across table then why can’t two individuals. If Lalu ji and Nitish Kumar can together, then anything is possible. The goal is not individual, but our goal is Punjab.”
When asked why he took so long to make up his mind and whether it was to strike a deal with AAP, he said, “I did not ask anybody for anything. Did Kejriwal ji not tweet making it clear that I had not asked for anything. He didn’t want me to contest an election. For me there was no alternative other than Congress. BJP ne alliance ko chuna, Sidhu ne Punjab ko chuna.”
“Sidhu bhagoda honay kay liye tayyar nahii tha” he said adding that he was not ready to leave Amritsar to fight from safe seats in 2014 Lok Sabha polls even though he was offered to do so.
Sidhu, however, refrained from expressing his views on the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi adding that ‘public knows everything.’
Little later Congress announced that Punjab PCC president Amrinder Singh will take on Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal from his pocket borough of Lambi while Sidhu will be the party nominee from Amritsar East.
Announcing the names six more candidates and changing the nominees for four seats for the Punjab Polls, a Congress statement said that Ranjit Singh will fight from Bholath in place of Gurwinder Singh Atwal while Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary will replace Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary Phillaur (SC).
Navjot Singh Sidhu will fight from Amritsar East, while Amrinder Singh will contest from Lambi, the Congress said in a statement.
Amarinder had requested the party high command for permission to contest against Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi seat.
Amarinder will also contest from his traditional Patiala urban seat.
It said that Jagbir Singh Brar will contest from Nakodar while Avtar Singh Sanghera (junior) will replace Rajkumar Gupta in Jalandhar North.
Similarly the party nominated Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cantt while Malkiat Singh Dhaka will fight from Jagraon SC in place of Geja Ram. Ravneet Bittu will contest from Jalalabad while Harinder Singh Mann will contest from Sanour.
Having joined Congress after hectic negotiations, cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu today said he was a “born Congressman” who was coming back to his roots and would be ready to work under anybody appointed by the high command and contest from where the party wants him to.
Nominees for the pending seats of Amritsar South, Mansa and Ludhiana East will be announced by Tuesday, the release said.
Polling will be held in Punjab on February 4.
Election to the 117-member Punjab assembly, promises to be three-way fight between the ruling SAD-BJP combine, Congress and the new entrant AAP.