Less than 24 hours after Congress’s star campaigner and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu indicated that he will not campaign in the state, he accompanied party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on her maiden campaign visit to Punjab on Tuesday.
Sources said Sidhu canceled his scheduled visit to Patna, where he was to address a rally for party candidate Shatrughan Sinha.
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This, sources said, was following an intervention by Priyanka, who flew with him from Delhi to Bathinda to address a rally in support of Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.
It is learnt that Priyanka called up Sidhu and had a meeting in Delhi, where Rahul Gandhi was also present. Sidhu was reportedly asked to cancel his visit to Bihar and accompany Priyanka.
The cricketer-turned-politician subsequently announced that he would spend the last day of campaigning in Bathinda by addressing 10 rallies. Warring is taking on Union minister Harsimrat Badal in Bathinda.
Sources said the party feels Sidhu could be its last-ditch effort in Bathinda to cash on the anti-Badal sentiment, and the party feels Raja Warring can upset Harsimrat Badal there.
Sources close to Sidhu said he is upset with Amarinder for not being called for campaign.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Navjot Kaur, wife of state minister Sidhu, alleged that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and party general secretary in-charge of Punjab Asha Kumari ensured that she was denied Lok Sabha ticket from Amritsar, PTI reported . “Captain Sahib and Asha Kumari think Madam Sidhu does not deserve an MP ticket. I was denied the ticket from Amritsar on the ground that I could not win in the aftermath of the train tragedy in Amritsar last year,” she told reporters in Amritsar on Monday.
She said: “Amarinder Singh is our junior captain. Rahul Gandhi is our senior captain. Our junior captain has said he would win all 13 seats by himself…. Captain Sahib will campaign; Asha Kumari is also a star campaigner; Sidhu-sahib will go wherever Rahul Gandhi asks him to go.”