CHANDIGARH: The much-awaited entry of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu into the Congress on Jan. 9 is likely to be delayed by anotherday because the party is poised to release its manifesto for the Punjab polls that very day.
The Congress manifesto is likely to be released at six places: in New Delhi with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doing the honours, and simultaneously in Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda.
Sources said the cover of the manifesto will bear the slogan ‘Navan Naroa Punjab Liayie, Captain Di Sarkar Banaiye’ along with pictures of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Capt. Amarinder Singh. The inclusion of the last named effectively settles the question of whether he will be formally named the chief ministerial candidate of the party.
The main points in the manifesto, headlined ‘Captain de 9 Point’, pledge to protect Punjab’s interests in the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna river waters dispute and eradicate the menace of drugs. One of the nine main points is the promise to create one job per family.
The party’s final list of election candidates is likely to be out in a day or two with decisions on 40 seats yet to be taken. The party has so far declared candidates for 77 out of the total of 117 seats in the Assembly. The strong resistance to giving tickets to those who joined the party recently has delayed the announcement.
Sources said that among the leaders who joined the party recently, Pargat Singh, the former India hockey captain who defected from the Akali Dal, wants the ticket from Jalandhar (Cantonment) but the party wants him to fight from Nakodar. Former Akali Dal minister Sarvan Singh Phillaur wants the ticket from Phillaur but Punjab Youth Congress chief Vikramjit Chaudhary also wants that seat. Navjot Singh Sidhu may be the candidate from Amritsar (East), a seat held by hi wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu, but former Youth Congress leader Jasbir Singh also wants it.