It seems cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has taken Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s snub at the Moga rally last month to heart. It has been nearly 20 days since Sidhu has been lying low and skipped work. According to reports, he is also upset with the Congress brass for denying ticket to his wife Navjot Kaur from the constituency of her choice --- Chandigarh. The seat has gone to veteran leader Pawan Bansal. Sources close to the minister said he is also upset that he is not on the list of the party's star campaigners list for Chhattisgarh, though he remains in demand for campaigning across the country.
On March 7, Sidhu was not included in the list of speakers at Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Moga rally. After this, the Punjab minister had said that by not inviting him to speak has shown him his place and made it clear who will campaign for the party in the coming Lok Sabha elections. "If I am not good enough to speak at Rahul’s rally, I am not good enough as a speaker and a campaigner. Whether I am invited to speak or not is something that is not under my control. But it has shown me my place and made it clear who all from the Congress will campaign for the party in the coming Lok Sabha polls," Sidhu was quoted as saying by The Hindustan Times as saying.
However, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar played down the controversy and said that Sidhu’s exclusion was an oversight and asserted that he continued to be the party’s star campaigner.
"Sidhu is our party’s star campaigner. It was an oversight on part of the party. Rahul ji asked me if all had spoken, when he (Rahul) was invited to speak. I told him I do not know as I had come with him," Jakhar said.
State cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who anchored the event said that he was told to name just four speakers as the Congress chief was getting late for another rally in Himachal Pradesh.
Sidhu, who quit BJP to join the Congress was named as party’s star campaigner during the recent Assembly elections in Rajasthan and during his rallies, he had claimed to be a loyal soldier of Rahul Gandhi. Sources say that Sidhu, who has been a star campaigner of the Congress, has become a liability for the party due to his closeness with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sidhu also doesn’t share a cordial relation with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. It had taken a turn for the worse following his statements on Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan after the Pulwama terror attack.
The Congress currently holds four of Punjab's 13 parliamentary seats.