Former cricketer and sitting BJP MP from Amritsar,Navjot Singh Sidhu,is not likely to contest from the Amritsar seat in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. A busy TV star,Sidhu is said to have refused to contest from Amritsar and is instead eying the Sikh-dominated Delhi (West) seat.
Considered to be the partys star campaigner,Sidhu is also the co-incharge of the BJP in Delhi. The Punjab BJP had recently announced that Sidhu is their first choice as the partys Amritsar candidate after the cricketers wife,Navjot Kaur Sidhu,publicly stated that her husband was feeling suffocated in the BJP which had sidelined and ignored him. She had even hinted that Sidhu might not contest the Lok Sabha polls at all.
Though facing severe criticism for his constant absence from his constituency,Sidhu,sources said,had held talks with the Congress last month. Congress had reportedly asked him to contest from Amritsar as its candidate. However,Sidhu,it is learnt,was adamant not to contest from Punjab.
With Sidhu out of the scene,the field is now open for the BJP to field any candidate from Amritsar. Party leaders claimed that the first choice is senior leader Arun Jaitley. This would be the first Lok sabha elections which Jaitley would contest. Jaitley has also been invited to contest from Vadodara and Jaipur. However,he has not taken any final decision on the seat. According to sources,being a Punjabi,there is a fair chance that Jaitley will agree to contest from Amritsar. In case Jaitley chooses not to contest,the BJP is weighing the winnability of its local leaders Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina,Industries Minister Anil Joshi and national vice-president Laxmi Kanta Chawla. BJPs choice of candidate will depend to a large extent on SADs support to their choice. The BJPs relation with the SAD in Amritsar under Sidhu have deteriorated over the years. What began as a friendship between Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majthia and Sidhu had led to a bitter tussle for attention and power. The fight originated during the last municipal corporation elections in Amritsar over the choice of mayoral candidates.
Majithia,sources said,is more than keen to support Jaitley. His family also has a long standing relationship with Chhinas family and his support for Chhina,in case he contests,is taken as granted. SAD,however,is not likely to support Chawlas candidature. Sources added that Anil Joshi was also not likely to contest elections.