Will de­liver knockout punch to Badals: Sidhu

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Election20­19 - WITH IN­PUTS FROM VISHAL JOSHI Sukhdeep Kaur n [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

A day af­ter Pun­jab lo­cal bod­ies min­is­ter and Congress star cam­paigner Navjot Singh Sidhu said he would give his home state a miss, the party high com­mand stepped in to defuse the stand­off. Sidhu, who was in Delhi for treat­ment, was asked to ac­com­pany party gen­eral sec­re­tary Priyanka Gandhi dur­ing her maiden Pun­jab visit this poll sea­son on Tues­day.

“I have been or­dered to go with Priyanka . My pro­grammes have been resched­uled. I will now go to Hi­machal on Wednesday and Bi­har and Mad­hya Pradesh on Thurs­day,” Sidhu said be­fore leav­ing for Bathinda with Priyanka.

Ad­dress­ing his first elec­tion rally in the state at Bathinda, Sidhu said he would re­turn in the seg­ment on May 17, the last day of cam­paign­ing, to de­liver a “knockout punch” to the Badals. “Here comes Sidhu, bhag Badal bhag,” he said. Sidhu said he would hold 10 ral­lies on May 17 if Congress can­di­date Am­rinder Singh Raja War­ring asked him to do so. War­ring is pit­ted against Akali Dal’s Har­sim­rat Badal. The elec­toral de­feat of the Badals was im­por­tant to save the next gen­er­a­tions and the state, he said.

Start­ing his speech, Sidhu did not greet dig­ni­taries present on the dais by name in an ap­par­ent bid to avoid CM Capt Amarinder Singh and gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge Asha Ku­mari. He be­gan with, “samanyog manch” (re­spected dig­ni­taries).

In a no-holds-barred at­tack on the Badals, he asked peo­ple to vote out Har­sim­rat from Bathinda. But his blis­ter­ing at­tack was not re­served only for the Badals. Launch­ing a veiled at­tack on Amarinder, he said: “Bul­bula de bana ch kade baaj nahi re­hende, buzdila de sirr te kade taaj nahi rehnde... jhuka ke sirr rakhan di aa­dat jeri koum nu pe jave, os koum de hathan wich kade raaj nahi rehnde (An eagle does not live in a nightin­gale’s nest. Cow­ards don’t get to wear the crown and a com­mu­nity that bows down in fear, never rules).

Sidhu said he will leave pol­i­tics if he fails to pun­ish those be­hind sac­ri­lege of Guru Granth Sahib. In an­other swipe at Cap­tain, he promised to send Badals to jail.

By reach­ing out to the crick­eter-turned-politi­cian, Priyanka has shown that Sidhu mat­ters in the party’s scheme of things. In a vi­ral video, Priyanka and Sidhu are seen reach­ing Bathinda to­gether and be­ing re­ceived by Amarinder and Asha, who tries to speak to Sidhu but he walks away.

Sidhu, who had taken of­fence to not be­ing al­lowed to speak at Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Moga on March 7, had skipped po­lit­i­cal events. “If I am not good enough to speak at Rahul’s rally, I am not good enough as a cam­paigner. Whether I am in­vited to speak or not is some­thing that is not un­der my con­trol. But it has shown me my place,” Sidhu had said.

He later ac­com­pa­nied Priyanka to Gur­daspur for a road­show where Pun­jab Congress chief Su­nil Jakhar is pit­ted against ac­tor Sunny Deol.

Sidhu was dis­mis­sive on his wife, Navjot Kaur, fir­ing a fresh salvo ac­cus­ing Cap­tain and Asha of lob­by­ing against ticket to her from Am­rit­sar seat cit­ing the rail tragedy. Kaur went on to add that Sidhu will not cam­paign in Pun­jab, pre­sum­ably un­aware of her hus­band be­ing asked to ac­com­pany Priyanka.

Kaur had ear­lier said she did not ac­cept the of­fer to fight Am­rit­sar as she could not cam­paign in nine assem­bly seats with­out her hus­band’s sup­port.

A day be­fore, Rahul had got sulk­ing Ra­jya Sabha MP Par­tap Ba­jwa to share the dais with Amarinder in Khanna. Seen hold­ing Rahul’s hand, Ba­jwa fired part­ing shots at Amarinder by telling the me­dia that the party would win all 13 seats as peo­ple were “very happy with per­for­mance of Amarinder gov­ern­ment”.


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