Buoyed by the entry of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to its camp, Punjab Congress is set to use his oratory skills as star campaigner against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) while the state party chief Captain Amarinder Singh will talk to rebel candidates.
Post Sidhu’s entry into Congress, his previous party BJP and alliance partner SAD have sharpened their ‘war of words’ against him, but the Congress intends to fight fire with fire.
After the Congress’ final candidates list that came out on Tuesday dashed hopes of many ticket aspirants and now Congress leadership is expecting a rebellion.
Party insiders said that the Congress high command had already asked Captain Amarinder to convince the rebels.
As a result of this, Gurkanwal Kaur, daughter of assassinated former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh joined back just two days after she moved to BJP over denial of party’s ticket to her. She joined back the Congress in Patiala in the presence of Captain Amarinder and his MLA wife Parneet Kaur.
Prime task of Sidhu is to take on Badals and he had accepted this role on his joining day while saying that he will expose the ruling family. Harish Chaudhary, Congress national secretary said, “Yes, Navjot Sidhu will be a star campaigner for Congress. Whereas the rebellion is concerned, the party is a family and personal persuasion is a way to deal it. We along with Captain Amarinder are in this process to take a control over the situation”.
SAD and Aam Aadmi Party have denied if Sidhu’s joining will make a difference. Terming Sidhu a ‘newly born’ Congress leader, SAD leader and Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal said “Sidhu may be a good actor of the laughter shows who can do good entertainment of the public with his dialogues, but he cannot mislead the public in political field with these dialogues”.
Similarly, Chander Suta Dogra, AAP spokesperson said, “I doubt Sidhu will make any difference with just few days left for elections. He wasted so much of time already to bargain”. In Punjab, it will be a three-way contest between the Congress, SAD-BJP and AAP.
The state will go to polls on February 4. Counting of votes will take place onMarch 11.