At a time when uncertainty prevails over the candidature of three-time MP Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar in the Lok Sabha elections later this year, his bête noire Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina is leaving no stone unturned to stake claim for the party ticket.
The name of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley is also doing the rounds even as Sidhu has been maintaining that he would contest from Amritsar only and not from any other place. Sidhu’s name was also reported to be considered for Delhi West after he was earlier stated to be reluctant to contest from Amritsar for the fourth time. His wife too had openly aired her grievance on this.
Local BJP and Akali leaders were in attendance at the Lohri celebrations organised by Chhina on Friday in what appeared to be an attempt to project Chhina as a unanimous choice for the party ticket.
Notably, in the past Sidhu had objected strongly to the appointment of Chhina as Amritsar Improvement Chairman (AIT) in 2009 and had returned to his constituency only after Chhina was removed from the post.
Sidhu has not been on good terms with Akali cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia either, triggering speculation that he was likely to pay a heavy price before polls due.
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On Friday night, Sidhu organised a dinner for BJP’s national organising secretary, Ram Lal, and secretary and Punjab affairs co-incharge, Shyam Lal Jajju, after the party’s core group meeting.
Both leaders were invited by Chhina for the Lohri celebrations on Friday night, but could not attend, on the plea that the meeting continued for long. On Saturday morning, State unit BJP chief Kamal Sharma and party general secretary Ajay Jamwal accompanied Ram Lal and Jajju for breakfast and subsequent talks with Chhina.
Notably, Sidhu’s wife Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu had shocked many after posting on Facebook that Sidhu was feeling “suffocated and sidelined” in the party and that projects pursued by him were being ignored. Later, Sidhu had come at loggerheads with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal Badal after he started targeting the Badals openly alleging that works pursued by him were deliberately being ignored.
There have been reports that the ruling alliance partners SAD and BJP are working on a swap formula where Amritsar and Ludhiana would be swapped.
Punjab BJP affairs in-charge Shanta Kumar, however, said, “As of now, BJP will contest from Amritsar.”
“A survey is being done. BJP is in final stages of deciding the candidate for Amritsar based on the feedback from party workers,” Kumar added.