Navjot Singh Sidhu slips towards irrelevance


Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, October 13: When former BJP MP from Navjot Singh Sidhu, a former cricketer turned politician turned comedian announced his resignation from the Rajya Sabha, he triggered strong tremors in the political matrix thereby giving a shock to his party. However, with his indecision leading to flip flop over the last about a month, he has pushed himself towards irrelevance. He dealt himself the severest blow when he said his still born front that is Awaz-e-Punjab could have political arrangement with the Congress in Punjab minus its state chief Capt Amarinder Singh. On the other hand, in a marked shift within hours, Capt Amarinder Singh today took the grandstanding saying all forces working to defeat the Akali Dal-BJP alliance in the state were welcome to the Congress.

In the process, he has also tried to give the impression that the Aam Aadmi Party is of no consequence.

When he announced his sudden decision to “serve Punjab” after having resigned  as BJP’s nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, it seemed Sidhu was about to take a position from where he would be dictating political discourse in the state. The showman succeeded in creating a big hype and he sounded very sincere. He was to join the Save and Serve Punjab bandwagon. He might not have visualised that everybody who is anybody is eager to save Punjab, including from those who have settled in Surrey in Canada’s British Columbia to those Punjabis who shifted to New Zealand, majority of whom are doing well and now feel it is their right to save their native state. This urge got stronger when Manpreet Singh Badal floated his People’s Party of Punjab after resigning as the finance minister in the Parkash Singh Badal government. Now it is AAP that is being perceived as the party of hope by these Punjabi NRIs. However, AAP too comprise the same frail people who are prone to committing blunders. Politics is not selfless but the most lucrative  profession. AAP in Punjab erred in the selection of candidates.

Sidhu appeared to be commitment personified as he announced his decision to Save and Serve Punjab in the presence of Akali Dal rebel MLA Pargat singh and MLA brothers Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains. They all four constitute Awaz-e-Punjab front. Nothing has come out of so far. Perhaps it is Pargat Singh who might have to take a decision about his future at his own. One can’t Save and Serve Punjab just by talking big. Actions have to match one’s words. Sidhu has lacked on this so far. He  was in Lok Sabha for three terms but has nothing to boast about his contribution to Punjab. It is his indecisiveness during the last few weeks that has  damaged his credibility as he has failed to rise above his comedy circus. Punjab is not that stage.

Sucha Singh Chhotepur too waited for him after he launched his Apna Punjab Party that too seems to be a non-starter so far as it is lacking in optics. APP is still to formalise understanding with the forum floated by rebel AAP MP from Patiala Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi, or vice versa. Precious time is being lost. It is a different situation during Lok Sabha election when Punjab proved to be the launching pad for AAP as it was the only state where the party opened its account with the unexpected victory of four of its candidates, two of whom now fall under the category of rebels while another one is disgruntled.

It is the Congress that seems to be gaining by default. Of course, Capt Amarinder Singh is working hard to redeem his image as this is his last election unlike Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who is seeking his sixth term. This election has the potential to give a decisive turn to the national political discourse.

The Sidhu camp is talking of taking final decision within the next about ten days. The only option available is the Congress, either entering into understanding or joining. APP has not given any indication of picking up momentum.


Jagtar Singh


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