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Has Sidhu been caught at Silly Point; Punjabis think so

Rajeev Khanna | Updated on: 28 July 2016, 13:59 IST

Caught at Silly Point! This is how the common public in Punjab is reacting to Navjot Singh Sidhu's strategy of keeping his cards close to his chest and not spelling out where he is heading post the Rajya Sabha departure.

The general perception after his press briefing on Monday - that saw Sidhu lambasting the BJP but not addressing the core issue of his future - is that he has not been able to get what he wanted from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Maybe, the Congress is also buying time, to make best of what is available.

There is a widely held view that the fizz has vanished from the Sidhu phenomenon and no matter which party he now joins, the impact will not be what it could have been had he simultaneously announced his new political destination while resigning from the Rajya Sabha last week.

Also read: History stands against Sidhu. These 6 leaders left BJP only to fail

"The more than a week long lull has had its impact. He is no longer the political rage that one expected to see," said a Congress worker.

Amarinder benefiting

In fact, what comes as a surprise at this point of time, is that Sidhu has come to be used as a tool for other political parties to score brownie points against their rivals. Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh seems to have made the most use of his resignation to hit out at the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Also read: What is stopping Sidhu from spelling out his future plans?

Immediately after Sidhu's briefing fiasco. Amarinder said the BJP owes an explanation to the people of Punjab as to why it barred Sidhu, from entering Punjab.

"Sidhu's revelations today have vindicated our stand that the Akalis and the BJP were partners in the sins of omission and commission and may be they were apprehensive that he might expose them, they barred and gagged him," he said.

"Their silence, (of both the Akalis as well as the BJP), only indicates that the two parties had too much to hide and that is why they have been left dumbfound and are not saying anything," he continued, while underlining that there is no disagreement within the party over inviting Sidhu to join the Congress.

Also read: Sidhu's resignation triggers seismic activity in Punjab, SAD sacks 2 MLAs

As things stand. Sidhu also appears to be at the receiving end from his own party (BJP), which he is yet to quit formally. His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu represents the same party as its Amritsar (East) MLA and a Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS).

Open letter to Sidhu

A secretary of the Punjab unit of the BJP has written an open letter to Sidhu lambasting him for his utterances at the press briefing at Delhi.

In his letter Dr Subhash Sharma has written, :In your today's address, you captured the situation very 'aptly' with the phrase, when you said, the biggest thing in one's life is Rashtra Dharma and how could Sidhu leave his Dharma? Where were you, when this Rashtra needed you the most. Dear Mr Sidhu, you were making quick bucks by laughing at the same comedy show, or by making cricket match commentary. You were doing everything, but following Rashtra Dharma.

Also read: Bold moves: Will BJP's Sidhu join AAP and become its Punjab CM candidate?

"Dear Sir, Dharma is not a word for ambitions, it for sacrifice and standing for one's values. Punjab went through turmoil during the last two years; we all were sad and were in grief at the sacrilege of the Holy Shri Guru Granth Sahib, where were you? Dear Mr Sidhu, we Punjabis kept waiting for your condolence message. But nothing came our way. Your Punjab faced two terrorists' attacks in last one year; you didn't share grief with any of the family members of the martyrs. The farmers of Punjab committed suicide, you didn't come. Crops of cotton farmers was destroyed, you didn't come. Youth of Punjab is battling to seek jobs, you didn't come. Terrorism came knocking at the doors of Punjab, you didn't come. Mr Sidhu, when your state needed you, you were busy at Mumbai studios".

The letter further states that the BJP had given him another opportunity to serve the country as a Rajya Sabha MP and improve on his misgivings. "But what did you do? Embarrass those who did well to you. You, yourself admitted that when you were made a Rajya Sabha MP, you were told that you would have to stay away from Punjab. Then why did take it? To die as a martyr? You and your wife have spent so many years in the party to know, the leadership always welcomes suggestions with positive frame of mind. But you chose to back stab them and their trust," Sharma added.

"There are too many theories that continue to do the rounds. One is that my not inducting him straight away as its chief ministerial face, the AAP leadership has left him high and dry sending the message that he must enter the party as a common worker unconditionally and his up gradation would all depend on how things turn out in future. There is also a theory that after AAP refused to declare him as its chief ministerial candidate, Sidhu might be keen to contest the Amritsar Lok Sabha by-poll which is quite likely as Amarinder is expected to vacate it to contest the forthcoming assembly poll. Then there are rumours of the Congress leadership being in touch him as well. There are also reports of his induction in AAP being put on hold for a fortnight," said a political observer from Patiala.

Also read: I resigned from Rajya Sabha as BJP asked me to stay away from Punjab: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Where will Sidhu end up?

AAP sources say that he is likely to be inducted in the party after 12 August, most likely at Amritsar.

The BJP leaders are now saying that Sudhu has landed in such a situation owing to his being over ambitious. "Such things happen only when you get too ambitious. The party has shown and is still showing a lot of restraint while dealing with the Sidhu couple," said a party functionary. At the same time, it is a well known fact that by losing them, the BJP would be paying a heavy political cost in Punjab.

Political observer and radio journalist Shiv Inder Singh says, "He was never a grass roots leader. I wouldn't be surprised if the BJP manages to retain him and it turns out to be a case of Laut ke Buddhu Ghar ko aaye."

For now, BJP leaders are answering Sidhu in a language he understands the best --the language of couplets. Perhaps that is why one of them chose this couplet to describe Sidhy's situation according to the BJP today, "Na Khuda hi mila, na visaal-e-sanam; Na udhar kay rahay, na idhar kay rahe (I found neither faith, nor union with my lover; And now I belong neither there nor here)."

Also read: Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns from Rajya Sabha

First published: 28 July 2016, 13:59 IST