Putting at rest talks of Navjot Singh Sidhu being offered the post of deputy chief minister if Congress party comes to power in Punjab, the state Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the cricketer-turned- politician would soon join the party “unconditionally”.
The decision on deputy chief minister would be taken by the party National president and vice president at an “appropriate time”, he said. “Sidhu’s decision to join the Congress was unconditional. No strings attached,” the former Punjab chief minister said.
He said Sidhu would be the party s candidate from Amritsar East, as announced by his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu. “The delay in his joining was due to his professional commitments, which he wanted to conclude before getting into the election gear,” Amarinder said in a statement.
On the delay in the announcing remaining candidates for the Punjab polls, he said it would be announced on Wednesday.
Further explaining the delay, he said the party’s central leadership has five states to look after “which naturally leads to some delays in the decision-making process”.
Ruling out tickets for “outsiders”, he said they may get ticket where Congress does not have its own “strong candidates”.
Reacting sharply on Arvind Kejriwal being virtually declared AAP’s chief ministerial candidate on Tuesday, Amarinder said “the Delhi Chief Minister’s gameplan had been completely exposed and it was clear he wanted to become the chief minister of Punjab without even contesting the polls”.
The people of Punjab will never hand over the reigns of the state to a ‘Haryanvi’ who could not be trusted to protect their interests, Amarinder added.
Kejriwal, who hails from Haryana, had earlier in the day clarified that his party’s chief ministerial candidate for Punjab would be someone from the state.
Rejecting Akali Dal and AAP criticism of the Congress manifesto, Amarinder said it had the stamp of approval of world-renowned economist and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. It had been prepared by former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal and former state deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and is a perfect document, he added.
Replying to a question on the BSF jawan video in which he has alleged that poor quality food is served to the personnel along the LoC, Singh called for an inquiry and said that on the face of it the allegations seemed true and the BSF should be held responsible for it.