NEW DELHI -- Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday officially joined the Congress Party ahead of the Punjab Assembly polls.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi welcomes Navjot Singh Sidhu into the Indian National Congress pic.twitter.com/tqeVNSWrC5— INC India (@INCIndia) January 15, 2017
He expressed his optimism on his new endeavour saying it was the beginning of a "new innings" for him.
"Beginning of a new inning. On the front foot........ Punjab, Punjabiyat & every Punjabi must win !!!," Sidhu said in a tweet.
Beginning of a new inning. On the front foot........ Punjab, Punjabiyat & every Punjabi must win !!! pic.twitter.com/up0WzzoaxJ— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) January 15, 2017
Punjab Congress in-charge Asha Kumari, who confirmed his joining to ANI, said Sidhu met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi at the latter's residence here and formally joined the grand old party.
"INC welcomes S. Navjot Singh Sidhu into the congress family and we thank Congress vice-president for his visionary approach in bringing together like-minded people on a common platform under the Congress umbrella. Known for his straight talking, ideological commitment to the cause of Nationalism as also wit and humour, we are certain that Congress Party will be immensely strengthened in Punjab and elsewhere with the entry of S. Sidhu" said a party statement.
According to sources, Sidhu had expressed his desire to join the Congress in Rahul's presence, but had to change his dates as the party vice-president was out of the country.
This political development comes months after the cricketer-turned politician's wife Navjot Kaur joined the Congress.
Navjot Kaur had earlier this month said that either she or her husband would contest the Punjab elections.
"We don't have anything in mind. We only want to work for the welfare of Punjab. One out of us (Navjot Kaur and Navjot Sidhu) is going to contest the upcoming election, for sure," Kaur said.
She also said that Sidhu would campaign in all the 117 assembly constituencies in the poll-bound state.
"We have to help to develop every sector of Punjab, be it industry or agriculture. Ours is a golden state and we have to make it number one state in the country," she said.
According to reports, the Congress is planning to field Sidhu against the Badals in the upcoming polls.
The former BJP leader may either be fielded from Lambi, where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is the Shiromani Akali Akali (SAD) candidate or from Jalalabad against Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
The Congress has so far released the names of 100 candidates. However, the grand old party still has to select candidates for the remaining 17 seats for elections to the 117-member Punjab Assembly.
Punjab goes to polls on 4 February.
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