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Will it be Navjot vs Harsimrat?

Posted in S. Asia

Published on April 09, 2019 with No Comments

  • Congress looks for heavyweight
  • I’m disheartened

“I feel disheartened at not having been allotted the party ticket for Chandigarh. But I respect the party decision to field Pawan Bansal, who is a seasoned politician. I will campaign for him wholeheartedly, if he asks me to do so. Having met a cross-section of people of City Beautiful, I wished to represent them. I felt they were a bit disheartened with the party working. So, I directed all my energy to getting to know them. My dream lies shattered. I am ready for any role the party assigns me. ” —Navjot Kaur Sidhu, former chief parliamentary secretary 

Speculation is rife that the Congress may field Navjot Kaur Sidhu against Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who is likely to be fielded by SAD from Bathinda or Ferozepur. The Congress is looking for a heavyweight to take on the Badals. Navjot Kaur Sidhu was in contention for the ticket from Chandigarh which ultimately was allotted to former minister Pawan Bansal.

The party had been banking on Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who is not too keen to contest.  “I’ve told the Congress leadership that I don’t want to contest since I’m a sitting minister. If they ask me to do so, that’s a different matter,” Manpreet Singh is reported to have said.

Navjot Kaur  has been quoted in the media saying, “I am not interested in contesting from Bathinda. In Punjab, I would rather opt for Amritsar where the people know me and have seen my work. Also, my husband will not be able to campaign for me as he will be addressing rallies across the country, which is a larger cause.” However, the ticket for Amritsar was given to the sitting MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla.

However, there is a buzz in political circles that the Congress may ask Navjot Kaur to contest from Bathinda. Like Harsimrat, she is vocal in airing her views and has adequate experience in politics. She was MLA from Amritsar East from 2012 to 2017, during which she also held the post of Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Health) in the SAD-BJP government. Her husband Navjot Singh Sidhu has always targeted the Akalis, whether on the floor of the Punjab Assembly or outside.  

Harsimrat continues to hold meetings with party workers at Badal village. Interestingly, she did not attend the Akali rallies chaired by former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in Mansa recently. She was also absent at party chief Sukhbir Badal’s rally in Bathinda’s Kotshamir village  where Congress leader Sukhdev Singh Chahal was taken into the party fold.

 

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