Patiala: Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Monday once again said that he has no reservations about cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and other leaders of Awaaz-e-Punjab political forum joining the party.
Amarinder said he has always maintained that Sidhu and all other leaders aligned to the Congress policies are welcome to join the party.
“I don’t know why I am being asked this question repeatedly,” Amarinder said, adding that his stand on the issue has been clear from the beginning.
“In fact, I was the one who told Sidhu, when he left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that he should join the Congress,” he said.
“Whether it is Sidhu or the Bains brothers or Pargat Singh, the doors of my party have always been open to them,” Amarinder said, adding that these are the people who have their roots in the Congress and could not possibly remain away from the party for long.
When Sidhu quit his Rajya Sabha seat in July this year, Amarinder had recalled that Sidhu’s father was a Congress leader in Patiala district and said that the former cricketer should join the Congress.
However, when Sidhu hobnobbed with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), tried to float a fourth front and even put conditions on his joining the Congress, an upset Amarinder said the Congress does not need Sidhu.
“My stand on the issue had always been clear and categorical, with no scope for ambiguity. Eventually, the interests of the party are supreme. And, if the party is strengthened by the joining of like-minded people, we can only gain from any such development,” Amarinder said.
Assembly polls in Punjab are likely to be held in January-February next year.
The Congress and the AAP are trying to challenge the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which has been in power in Punjab since 2007.