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The cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is in the limelight again after resigning from the post of the state congress chief few days back. After a long tussle between the former chief minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sindhu, the story has taken a twist. Navjot Singh Sidhu was made the state congress chief by congress to pacify Sidhu and prevent any future disturbance. But the situation has gone out of control after Sidhu tweeted his resignation to congress president Sonia Gandhi – “the collapse of man’s character stems from the compromise corner. I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab.” He also said that he will continue to serve congress.
Captain along with ministers have already resigned from the government of Punjab. Charanjeet Singh Channi is the new CM of Punjab.
Who is Navjot Singh Sidhu?
Navjot Singh Sindhu is a former Indian cricketer. He has played over 50 Test matches and over 100 ODIs and scoring over 7,000 international runs, Sidhu retired from all forms of cricket in December 1999.
Navjot Singh Sidhu is also a political commentator and an entertainer. After retirement from cricket, Sidhu took up television commentary, TV shows and politics.
He started his political journey in 2004 with BJP on the inspiration of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, although his father was a general secretary of Congress. Sidhu contested and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amritsar in 2004 on a BJP ticket and defeated senior Congress leader Raghunandan Lal Bhatia by 1,09,532 votes. Sidhu had resigned from the Lok Sabha in 2006 before the Supreme Court ruled in the Patiala case of an involuntary murder case.
Later, Sidhu contested the by poll from Amritsar Lok Sabha in 2007 after the Supreme Court allowed him to contest. In this election, he defeated Congress Finance Minister Surinder Singla. In 2009, Sidhu defeated O P Soni of Congress party to reach Parliament for the third time. In 2014, the BJP did not give a ticket to Sidhu. Some reports also claim that Sidhu vacated the seat for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who lost to Capt Amarinder Singh of Congress.
In 2016, in order to placate him, he was made a member of the Rajya Sabha by the BJP to but Sidhu resigned from the Rajya Sabha as well as BJP. Subsequently, Sidhu held negotiations with AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal. However, the talks failed and Sidhu refused to join AAP.
Along with hockey player-turned-politician and Bains brothers, Sidhu initiated a front named Awaz-e-Punjab (AeP) and lashed out at Kejriwal.
Finally, he held negotiations with Congress and joined the Congress in 2017. Congress' Punjab unit’s chief Capt Amarinder Singh had said in September 2016 that Sidhu has Congress in his DNA.
With the formation of the Congress government in Punjab, Sidhu was made the Local Government Minister. Sidhu resigned from the Cabinet in 2019 after a disagreement with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
Controversies related to Sidhu-
The controversies have a special connection with him. Whether cricket or politics, he has always made headlines. As a cricketer, Sidhu had denied to play under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin and returned back to India during England tour. The comments of being unprofessional were thrown at him.
In 1991, Sidhu was accused of assaulting Gurnam Singh and causing his death. He was arrested by Punjab Police after the incident and was lodged in a Patiala jail.
A trial court had discharged Mr Sidhu, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court held him guilty of culpable homicide in 2006 and sent him to jail for three years in the road rage case. In 2007, the Supreme Court suspended Mr Sidhu's sentence and granted him bail. The suspended sentence enabled him to contest the Lok Sabha bypolls from Amritsar.
Sidhu attended the oath-taking ceremony of PM of Pakistan, Imran Khan and also hugged the army chief of Pakistan, General Bajwa. This act of Sidhu was hurting for many Indians as well as his own party members. While some tapped his back for this gesture but Captain Amarinder was irked from this act. Media slashed out at him.
The time when he was a BJP member, Sidhu always tried to persuade the party to break the ties with the Akali Dal. When Arun Jaitley came to Amritsar to contest at the behest of the Badals in 2014, Sidhu never supported or appeared Arun Jaitly during the political campaigns. Several BJP leaders didn’t admire this behaviour of Sidhu.
On 15 February 2019, during an appearance on The Kapil Sharma Show, Sidhu condemned the recent attack on Indian soldiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir as "cowardly and dastardly". However, he found himself in a controversy when he went on to ask: "For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation of Pakistan and can you blame an individual?" The comments drew heavy criticism. BJP leader Giriraj Singh demanded that Sidhu be expelled from the Congress Party. On 16 February, it was reported that The Kapil Sharma Show had responded by replacing Sidhu with Archana Puran Singh.
After his joining the Congress party in 2019, Sidhu remarked to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh that he was the Captain of Punjab but his (Sidhu's) Captain was Rahul Gandhi. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Sidhu had opened the front during the election campaign in Bathinda by claiming 75-25 shares in the business of the Captain and the Badals. After losing five seats in the Lok Sabha, the captain reshuffled the portfolios of cabinet ministers. The Local Government Department was withdrawn from Sidhu in protest of which he had resigned from the post of Cabinet Minister.
Recently being the congress member, Sidhu demanded 300 units of free electricity and round-the-clock power supply for people of Punjab from the Amarinder Singh government. Meanwhile Punjab State Power Corporation Limited announced that Sindhu has not payed his electricity bills of several months that costs 8.67 lakhs. It attracted several criticism for Sidhu because loss of Discoms i.e. companies that distribute electricity, is already a concerning issue in India.
Now, the assembly elections of Punjab are just 6 months’ away. Congress needs to build up its image and make sure that all its fighters focus on elections and fight as a team.