Why Sidhu will join AAP but won't be its Punjab CM face

Swati Chaturvedi
Swati ChaturvediAug 17, 2016 | 11:50

Why Sidhu will join AAP but won't be its Punjab CM face

Navjot Singh Sidhu, aka Sherry, will formally join Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by the end of this week (by August 18 or 19).

I believe, Sidhu will not be the chief ministerial face for the party. His wife Navjot Kaur, who is also joining the party, however, will contest on an AAP ticket in the upcoming Punjab election.

Sidhu, who spurned a nominated Rajya Sabha seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is said to campaign for the AAP all across Punjab, where he has huge traction on account of his "principled" stand and fight against the Akali Dal.

These details were finalised at the meeting between Arvind Kejriwal and Sidhu, which ended with Sidhu embracing Kejriwal in a giant bear hug.

An emotional Kejriwal applauded Sidhu's courage for leaving and fighting the BJP when it was using "unscrupulous" means against its opponents.

Sidhu's entry into the AAP sans conditions - such as being the CM face - leaves the race for the party's CM candidate in Punjab wide open.

Sidhu, who is also keen to shed his cricketer-cum-TV-comic image for his second innings in politics, wants to now be taken seriously.

He does not want to be seen as the usual deal-making politician. Hence, the dramatic gesture of not being the AAP CM face and being content with being an "aam aadmi" fighting against Punjab's political corruption.

AAP sources say that Kejriwal and Sidhu will address the media together when the latter formally joins. (PTI)

This "renunciation" also ensures that the AAP's rule of one serving politician per family is maintained.

Ground reports and the party's internal surveys indicate that the AAP is doing extremely well in Punjab and Sidhu's formal entry will give it further fillip.

Undoubtedly, he is one of the most popular campaigners with his inimitable style and enjoys support across the board.

Sidhu's dramatic entry on the Punjab electoral stage will be a huge blow to the BJP and Akali alliance as well as the Congress campaign led by Captain Amarinder Singh.

AAP sources say that Kejriwal and Sidhu will address the media together when Sidhu formally joins but, as part of a strategy jointly decided by them, it will not be an over-hyped event.

"That's what our opponents would have done. Sidhu has spurned power and taken on the state government for the sake of Punjab. That's the message his joining AAP is sending," a senior AAP leader said.

Moreover, the AAP leaders are quite smug that despite stories being planted around of "Sidhu's demands", all of them have been proved to be utterly wrong.

An AAP leader told me in confidence: "He never once made any such demand. He is young and his dream is Punjab and once the association with the BJP fades the dream will be attained."

Sidhu, however, will have a say in the ticket distribution and the election campaign from now on.

Interestingly, despite Sidhu being tentatively out of the race for the AAP CM face in Punjab, if the Centre keeps confronting and obstructing the Kejriwal-led Delhi government in the same manner, some dramatic last minute changes could happen.

Last updated: August 18, 2016 | 16:02
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