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My battle is for redemption of Punjab: Navjot Singh Sidhu

My battle is for redemption of Punjab: Navjot Singh Sidhu
Navjot Singh Sidhu at a press conference a day after joining the Congress party, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: After months of parleys cricketer-turned-politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu who officially joined the Congress on Sunday, on Monday said that his battle is for the “redemption of Punjab”.

After quitting BJP, and failed negotiations with AAP, Sidhu on Monday claimed that joining Congress as like a “Ghar wapsi” and that he was a “born Congressman”.

Sidhu is now well set to contest from Amr-itsar (East) Assembly constituency.

Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh will now be contesting from both the constituencies of Lambi and Patiala. The former cricketer opened his innings with Congress by launching a blistering attack on the Akali Dal leadership and in his inimitable style he said: “Bhaag baaba Badal bhaag, kursi khaali kar, Punjab ki janta aati hai.” Reacting sharply to Sidhu’s utterances Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal described him as a ‘human bomb’ which would “explode in the face of the Congress soon.”

Sidhu also did not spare his former outfit-BJP. Referring to remarks that BJP was like “his mother, whom he betrayed,” Sidhu quoted from Ramayana. Without mentioning BJP he said, “Kaikeyi was also a mother, who banished her son to the forest for 14 years.”  He also referred one BJP leader as “Manthara”, the hump-back maid in Ramayana, who convinced queen Kaikeyi that the throne belonged to her son Bharata and that her step-son, the crown-prince Rama should be exiled from the kingdom.

Some Congress leaders said that it was the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, who Sidhu was tacitly referring as  “Manthara”.

For Sidhu Congress was like “Kaushalya” who gave birth to Lord Rama. When asked if he would stake claim to the post of Chief Minister  if Congress came to power since the party has not yet officially projected a face, Sidhu described himself as a “disciplined foot soldier of the party, willing to work under anyone the party wanted him to”. Then he quickly added; “Gehun khet mein aur beta pet mein aur aap byah ki baat kar rahe ho (it is premature to talk about the issue).”

Sidhu also said that he has come to create a spark and bring Punjab back to its glory. “Punjab was once known for the Green Revolution and now it is notorious for ‘chitta’ (a lethal synthetic drug popular among the youth),” he said.