Differences with Sukhbir Badal kin Majithia may cost sulking Navjot Singh Sidhu Amritsar seat

SAD is reportedly pushing for senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's candidature from Amritsar.

Written by Chitleen K Sethi | Chandigarh | Published:April 13, 2013 11:07 am

Akali Dal wants ally BJP to field Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls

His differences with Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia,the brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal,may cost sulking BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu heavy.

Even as BJP president Rajnath Singh Friday stepped in to pacify the cricketer-turned politician,who is said to be upset with the party leadership for ‘sidelining’ and ‘ignoring’ him,the Shiromani Akali Dal saffron party’s senior ally in Punjab describing it as BJP’s “internal” matter.

“It is a matter with which we are not concerned. It is between the party and Sidhu,” said Daljeet Singh Cheema,SAD spokesperson.

Cheema’s statement came even as Rajnath Singh spoke to Sidhu in the morning and assured him of looking into his grievances. It also came at a time when the SAD,sources said,is pushing for senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s candidature from Amritsar in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sidhu,the three-time Amristar MP will meet Rajnath in Delhi after the ongoing IPL cricket tournament gets over,sources said even as the sulking politician was not available for comments.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been sulking for quite some time and the matter precipitated after he was recently dropped from Singh’s new list of BJP office-bearers. He was Secretary in BJP during Nitin Gadkari’s tenure as president.

Though the SAD chose to keep quiet on the issue,there is no love lost between the party leadership in Amritsar and Sidhu. His differences with revenue minister and SAD’s Amritsar in-charge Majithia is an open secret and SAD sees the current crisis in BJP as an opportunity to ensure that Sidhu is not fielded from Amritsar at all.

“He (Sidhu) has remained an absentee MP in Amritsar and it would be difficult,if not impossible,for the BJP to win the seat in the forthcoming parliamentary polls if he is fielded,” said a senior SAD leader requesting not to be named.

He made it clear that if Sidhu is fielded,he will not have SAD’s support. “He has rubbed everyone who helped him the wrong way. All those who were with him at one time have parted ways from him,” the SAD leader added.

Once considered to be ‘close friends’,Majithia and Sidhu had indulged in an open war of words following the Amritsar municipal corporation elections last year on the issue of choosing the mayor. Sidhu had accused Majithia of having wrested the mayor’s seat from the BJP.

Though considered to be a traditional Sikh seat,the SAD this time,is keen on the BJP choosing the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha,Arun Jaitley,as the candidate from Amritsar. “If Jaitley’s name is finalised,we will put our life and soul in ensuring his win,” said a SAD leader from Amritsar.

In the possibility of NDA coming to power at the centre,Jaitley is expected to play a major role and that is what is working in his favour here. Sources,however,add that Jaitley’s candidature is yet to be chosen between Amritsar and Jaipur.

In case Jaitley chooses Jaipur,the SAD is also ready to support former cabinet minister and BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla from Amritsar.

“It will be easier for us to help Jaitley win. For Chawla,we will have to work harder,” an Akali leader said. Sources said that if SAD is allowed to have its way in the choice of BJP’s candidate from Amritsar,there is a strong possibility that it will push for Sidhu’s arch rival Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina. A Sikh BJP leader,Chhina is considered to be close to Majithia and has remained entrenched in Amritsar politics for years.

Chawla and Chhina were inducted as the BJP national vice-presidents earlier this month while Sidhu was shown the door from the national executive body.

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