Congress tight-lipped over joining hands with Sidhu for Punjab polls

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh said no discussion on Sidhu took place during the meeting with Rahul Gandhi.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Friday said that anybody interested in accepting the policies and programmes of the Congress was welcome to join the party, referring to former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu. However, he told ANI that the cricketer-turned-politician was discussed in the meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Singh’s meeting with Rahul comes at a time when the party is divided over joining hands with Sidhu-led Aawaz-e-Punjab for the Assembly elections.

On Thursday, the party had denied having offered him the post of deputy chief minister if the party came to power in 2017 polls. “No, we are not in talks with them (Awaaz-e-Punjab). The only people who have approached us are from CPI. They have approached us, but talks haven’t started,” Asha Kumari, senior Congress leader and the party’s in-charge for Punjab told PTI.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa is reportedly supporting Sidhu’s entry into the Congress.

Meanwhile, Sidhu’s party is expected to take final call today. Sidhu along with former Indian hockey captain Pargat Singh and two MLAs had launched Aawaz-e-Punjab forum last month. On September 22, he had said that his forum was not going to be a political party but he was open to alliance for the betterment of Punjab.

He had resigned from the BJP last month after having quit his Rajya Sabha membership on July 18.

Initially, it was speculated that Sidhu would join Aam Aadmi Party, but while unveiling his forum, the cricketer politician had hit out at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, saying the latter only liked yes men around him.

Sidhu represented Amritsar in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2014. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he was not fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Instead, incumbent union finance minister Arun Jaitley contested against former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and lost.