Ground Zero: Continuing suspense about Navjot Sidhu joining AAP may end up as laughter show



Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, August 17: The situation has taken an embarrassing turn both for the Aam Aadmi party as well as cricketer-turned politician and thrice BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been taking the high chair in the comedy shows on the small screen. His much awaited joining of AAP after his dramatic resignation from the Rajya Sabha seems to be ending up as a laughter show for the people but tragedy for the actors. This show was different from all others as it was going on away from the cameras but every move under public scrutiny.

According to sources, Sidhu had decided to join AAP unconditionally and hence  he suddenly turned up in the office of the Rajya Sabha Chairman  to jot down his resignation on the sheet provided to him there and then. The people and the Bharatiya Janata Party came to know about this sudden development only after his resignation. He had been nominated to Rajya Sabha days earlier to mollify him as he had been denied ticket in the Lok Sabha election to make way for his mentor and now Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2014. Sidhu did not campaign for Jaitley who was given a humiliating defeat by Congress candidate and former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. It was Sonia Gandhi who made him to contest while he made it clear that he was interested only in state politics.

It is the hype that was created after his resignation that has put both Sidhu and AAP in an awkward situation. He was being perceived by the people as the likely chief ministerial face of AAP in Punjab that the party lacks and subsequently, he also started believing in that. Now he wants AAP to declare him the chief ministerial face as a precondition. However, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal is not inclined to succumb to the pressure.

It is Sidhu  who should blame himself for the situation. There was no hurry to resign without  formal announcement having been made of him being the chief ministerial face by Kejriwal. Perhaps he wanted to give high voltage to the BJP leadership. However, now he is caught in a catch-22 situation.

Although no formal announcement was ever made by Kejriwal or other senior AAP leaders about Sidhu joining the party, they were too quick to welcome his resignation. He had called on Kejriwal in the morning before going to Parliament House to tender his resignation. It was all too clear. However, it is the delay that has suddenly changed the situation.

Sources maintain that AAP wants him to join unconditionally  was the earlier arrangement. Sidhu forgets that the bargaining power of a leader ends the moment he or she resigns from the mother party to look for greener pastures. Sidhu now lacks that bargaining power and in the process, he would be the bigger loser. It would be too embarrassing for him to return to the BJP. For the ruling Akali Dal leadership, his resignation had been a good riddance.

His bargaining power started weakening with every passing day after his resignation. He could have joined before Kejriwal went to Dharamsala for 10-day meditation routine.

Sidhu belongs to traditional Congress family of Patiala and Capt Amaranider Singh might be too happy to have him in the party.

There is another aspect of the personality of Sidhu as a political leader and three times MP. He is not known to take stand on any issue concerning Punjab or the people. However, he got into confrontation with the Akali leadership over what he calls as some development projects that were not being cleared. This has been the grouse of his wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu too who is BJP MLA from Amritsar East and went to the extent of staging dharnas to get the development works expedited in her constituency.

After all the hype, Sidhu not joining AAP would be a setback for AAP too. The party is already caught in power struggle.

Earlier, AAP had failed to get in Manpreet Singh Badal whom Rahul Gandhi later welcomed into Congress. The Sidhu case would be the second in that series.

The present stalemate  also raises question mark over the understanding of complexities of Punjab political discourse by AAP leadership. The party can’t thrive only on tsunami of anti-incumbency.



Jagtar Singh


[email protected]

Related Editorials