Is Sidhu set for a snub by Kejriwal?

| | Updated on: Aug 19, 2016
Navjot Singh Sidhu

Navjot Singh Sidhu



The apparent glitches in former BJP MP and cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu’s entry in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have added to the growing belief that it is Arvind Kejriwal himself who would be the party’s chief ministerial candidate in Punjab in the upcoming Assembly elections.

Sidhu’s name was touted as AAP’s possible CM candidate the day he resigned from his Rajya Sabha seat and attacked his parent party, the BJP.

But so far, there has been no progress on his joining the AAP. Kejriwal gave an explanation on the subject on Friday, which created more doubts about Sidhu’s entry in AAP.

“Would Navjot Sidhuji join AAP – lots of rumours? It is my duty to put forward our side. We have the greatest regard for this cricketing legend,” said Kejriwal, hailing him as a “legend” but promising nothing.

Kejriwal went on to assert that there were no “pre-conditions” that is, projection as CM candidate, to Sidhu’s joining date.

“He met me last week; didn’t put any pre-condition. He needs time to think. Let’s respect that… He is a very good human being and a cricketing legend. My respect for him will remain whether he joins or not,” said Kejriwal.

While Sidhu seemed to also have an offer from the Congress too, surveys such as the one conducted by C-Voter-Huffington Post in February 2016 show that AAP’s chances of winning Punjab “hinge on” Kejriwal’s projection as CM.

Survey results

This survey, which predicted 94-100 seats for AAP in the 117-member Punjab assembly, found that 59 per cent of the respondents wanted Kejriwal as Chief Minister. As many as 51 per cent said they would choose Kejriwal over the Congress’s CM candidate Amarinder Singh.

“But when Kejriwal was replaced by Bhagwant Mann in a question about who would be the best CM for Punjab, the AAP lawmaker from Sangrur ranked third. Only 11 per cent respondents chose him as CM, down from 26 per cent in 2015,” said the survey.

After Kejriwal, it is Amarinder Singh who has shown a sharp jump in his popularity ratings from 26 per cent in 2015 to 37 per cent in 2016. Sidhu has not crossed 16 per cent. Current Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal’s approval ratings were shown to be at a dismal three per cent.

While Kejriwal is in high demand in Punjab, AAP is simultaneously squeezed in Delhi by the Centre’s political ‘interference’ as also a recent High Court judgment that ruled the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of Delhi, which continues to be a Union Territory.

Under the circumstances, winning Punjab is critical for AAP and Kejriwal’s move to the poll-bound State is a logical corollary. Things certainly seem to be moving towards that eventuality.

Published on January 17, 2018

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