Navjot Sidhu to be AAP's CM candidate in Punjab?

Chandigarh: On a day when AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal was seeking penance at the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, a political drama was unfolding in New Delhi that could change the course of Punjab politics ahead of the state assembly elections. The resignation of popular cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu from the Rajya Sabha less than three months after he was nominated to the Upper House of parliament by the BJP government at the Centre has opened up the political scenario in Punjab once again. With a senior AAP leader confirming that Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu -- a Punjab BJP legislator who is also the chief parliamentary secretary (just below a minister) in the Punjab government -- were all set to join the Aam Aadmi Party before the assembly polls, the sudden resignation of the BJP MP has cleared a lot of things. The AAP, which is posing a serious challenge to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the opposition Congress in Punjab ahead of assembly polls, due nearly next year, could well be on course to crown Sidhu as its chief ministerial candidate. The AAP's confidence in Punjab is not misplaced. It was Punjab's electorate which gave entry to the AAP in the Lok Sabha in the 2014 elections. The party won four Lok Sabha seats -- all from Punjab, which has a total of 13 in the lower house. Sidhu, three-time Lok Sabha member from Amritsar, had been slighted by the ruling dispensation in Punjab -- the Shiromani Akali Dal and its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- in the past few years. The Sidhu couple has been critical of the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab headed by the country's oldest Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. A popular Jat-Sikh face, Sidhu paid the price of his run-ins with Punjab's dominant Badal family. He had verbal duels with the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and his powerful brother-in-law Bikram Majithia, who is the younger brother of Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.