Former cricketer and BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu might be shifted from his current constituency in Punjab to Kurukshetra in Haryana for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said the BJP top leadership was not in favour of fielding him for the fourth time from Amritsar because of strong anti-incumbency factor against him. “There is also opposition from state unit of the party and alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),” they said.
The main contenders for the Amritsar seat are Arun Jaitley and state BJP vice-president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina.Sidhu confirmed the development. “I am yet to make up my mind. My heart lies in Amritsar and I want to contest from there. The BJP top leadership is worried about the SAD support and wants me to contest from Kurukshetra,” he said.
He was also offered Delhi (West) and Ghaziabaad seats.
Sidhu said he was opposing the move to shift him to a new constituency, as he was confident of winning from Amritsar for the fourth time.
When asked about Jaitley’s name popping up for the seat, the former cricketer said: “He is my guru and I will support him if he decides to contest from Amritsar.” He, however, added that Jaitley hadn’t so far expressed any interest in his seat. Prolonged absence from the constituency, bitter war of words with SAD leadership and bickerings within local BJP are the main factors working against Sidhu’s claim for Amritsar seat.
Chhina, another Sikh face in the state unit of the BJP, has also intensified lobbying for the ticket. Though names of state BJP president Kamal Sharma and former minister Baldev Raj Chawla are also doing rounds for the seat, the main fight is likely to be confined between Sidhu and Chhina.
The two were earlier close friends. The trouble started when Sidhu blamed Chhina for not working whole-heartedly for him during the 2009 elections and vowed to return only after the latter was removed as chairman of local improvement trust. The bitterness further deepened when Sidhu threatened to resign from the party, if Amritsar (East) seat, which Chhina was eyeing, wasn’t given to his wife Navjot Kaur.
Sidhu, pre-occupied with TV comedy shows and cricket commentary, was away from Amritsar and in the eye of storm for criticising state government. The former cricketer had been staying away from the party programmes and functions and did not even attend the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Fateh rally at Jagraon recently.