The Tribune-Voice of the people, CHANDIGARH - BY: Advantage Navjot Sidhu

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Posted at: Jul 20, 2016, 12:38 AM; last updated: Jul 20, 2016, 12:38 AM (IST)

Advantage Navjot Sidhu

The BJP’s loss may become AAP’s gain

While Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation came as a surprise even to the BJP, the lavish AAP praise for him leaves little scope for doubt where he is headed.

Reports suggest he will be AAP’s chief ministerial face. With anything less than that AAP may not be able to attract and retain him.

With three Lok Sabha wins and popular appeal — some find his comic acts irritating — his credentials are strong but will other contenders for the top post in AAP accept him as their leader?

Sidhu is aware anti-incumbency may sink the BJP-SAD ship and the BJP had nothing more to offer him after the recent Cabinet expansion. Even if the C-Voter survey giving AAP 100 seats is exaggerated, the party is a serious contender for power in Punjab — a state which elected the only four MPs it has.

Even though Sidhu and his doctor-wife had problems with the Badals and Majithia as well as the BJP after Amit Shah denied him the Amritsar ticket in 2014 and brushed aside their pleas for a break-up with the Akali Dal, the Rajya Sabha resignation is being linked to an AAP offer of a role.

Navjot Kaur had recently scaled up her tirade against the Badals, alleging that drugs were supplied in official vehicles.

Other BJP leaders toe the Akali line that Punjab is being “defamed” on the drug issue and put up with indignities to keep their job. The Sidhus also had the option of silence to stay in power. “In a war between right and wrong, you can’t afford to be neutral,” said the ex-cricketer.

Political rivals of AAP project it as a party of “outsiders” who are unfamiliar with Punjab. The recent manifesto gaffe was effectively used to reinforce that view.

In Sidhu AAP will get a prominent Jat Sikh with a clean image and a good campaigner who can not only erase the “outsider” tag but also take on the old war horses — Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh — more effectively since age is on his side.

Not an unmixed blessing, however, Sidhu comes with a baggage that Arvind Kejriwal may be hard put to deal with.

Forwarded by:

Balbir Singh Sooch-Sikh Vichar Manch

Posted on Jul 21, 16 | 5:38 am