JALANDHAR: Keen to seal a victory it desperately needs, Congress is understood to have offered BJP rebel+ Navjot Singh Sidhu the deputy chief minister’s post if he joins hands with the party in the Punjab assembly elections.
Sources close to the ex-cricketer, who left the BJP recently and formed his own outfit+ , said on Wednesday that Congress has said it is willing to consider the “number two post” in case the party wins the election. Sources in Congress confirmed the offer made to the former cricketer.
The proposal, however, does not seem to have excited former chief minister Amarinder Singh and the lead campaigner for Congress though he had suggested that Sidhu merge his Awaaz-e-Punjab party+ with the Congress. Congress may also need to clearly name Amarinder the chief ministerial candidate — something that has not happened despite the campaign revolving around the veteran leader, in case the party signs the pact with Sidhu.
But with opinion polls showing a slender lead for Congress over the Aam Aadmi Party, the latter could seek a consolidation of the anti- Akali Sikh vote by roping in Sidhu despite his outspoken and somewhat unpredictable ways. Sidhu is understood to enjoy a degree of acceptability with the Hindu vote too, given his celebrity status.
Punjab represents the best prospect for Congress in the forthcoming elections compared to other states like Uttar Pradesh. A clear win will be morale boosting for the party as a hung assembly will leave it with the unappealing prospect of considering AAP as an ally in office, a situation Congress is keen to avoid.
TOI had reported last week that the former opening batsman’s outfit was in talks with Congress with 13 of his supporters offered tickets.