DESPITE BEING on the star campaigners’ list for the October 21 bypolls in Punjab, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has stayed away from pre-poll activities. Over the last few days he has been seen at the Vaishno Devi shrine in J&K.
As no. 29 in a list of 40 star campaigners, Sidhu’s name appears before 11 party leaders including five MLAs — Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Kushaldeep Singh Kiki, Sangat Singh Gilizian, Inderbir Singh Bolaria and Tarsem Singh DC — who were recently named as advisors to CM Capt Amarinder Singh. The name of the sixth advisor, Kuljit Singh Nagra, who is also a two-time MLA, appears as no. 7 on the list.
The list has 14 ministers out of 16 in the Cabinet except Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra, who has recently undergone a major surgery, and Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who is campaign in-charge of CM’s political secretary Sandeep Singh Sandhu, contesting as party candidate from Dakha.
AICC General Secretary and party affairs in-charge Asha Kumari and the chief minister on top of the list. It also includes PPCC president Sunil Jakhar, former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Rajya Sabha MPs Ambika Soni, Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, and MPs including Preneet Kaur, Manish Tewari, who appear before Sidhu.
Sources said a number of party leaders did not want Sidhu, Bajwa and Dullo on the list but their names were added on the instructions of an AICC leader. Sidhu had resigned from Cabinet after Amarinder changed his portfolio, calling him a “non-performer”.