Punjab polls: Navjot Singh Sidhu likely to back Congress, says Capt Amarinder Singh

Two Akali MLAs join Cong; panel to meet tomorrow for first list of candidates

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 7, 2016 12:29:03 am
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sidhu, Sidhu Congress, Sidhu new party, Amarinder Singh, Amarinder, Punjab Congress, Punjab news, india news, latest news, indian express Former Akali Dal leaders with Captain Amarinder Singh after joining the Congress in New Delhi. Prem Nath Pandey

AMID THE uncertainty over whether former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu will join the Congress, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday that he has met the cricketer-turned-politician and that he is inclined to support the party. Singh said Sidhu would make an announcement soon, but he was not forthcoming on whether he would join the Congress and what role he would have in the party.

Meanwhile, two Akali Dal MLAs — Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike, MLA from Nihalsinghwala constituency in Moga district who resigned from the Akali Dal last week after she was denied a ticket, and Maheshinder Singh, who was also denied a ticket by the ruling party — joined the Congress today.

Although Amarinder was noncommittal on Sidhu’s entry into the Congress, his meeting with the former BJP MP meant the two have decided to bury the hatchet. Amarinder was considered the stumbling block in Sidhu’s association with the Congress. Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur, joined the Congress last month.

“I have met him. I hope very soon he will be making his announcement. I found him in a very positive frame of mind. I hope it will be a positive decision,” said Amarinder.

Asked specifically if Sidhu would formally join the Congress, Amarinder said, “I think he will announce it himself. Let’s wait for the announcement in a few days time. But the impression I got, without any commitment from his side, is that he was inclined to support us.”

On whether Sidhu would contest from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat vacated by him, Singh said he did not think Sidhu was interested in contesting from Amritsar. “The way he is talking, I feel he would like to campaign for the Congress party, but that he will announce himself,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress screening committee headed by Ashok Gehlot met again to shortlist candidates for the assembly elections. The Sonia Gandhi-headed Congress Central Election Committee is set to meet on Thursday after which the first list of candidates will be announced.

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