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With Sidhu's Move, Poll Politics Gets a Mix of Punjabi Tadka

File image of Navjyot Singh Sidhu

File image of Navjyot Singh Sidhu

Navjot Sidhu over the last few years has often warned of hindrances in his work for Amritsar by the Akali leadership.

Navjot Singh Sidhu has thrown the most powerful punch yet in the run up to Punjab Assembly polls in early 2017.

His resignation from the Rajya Sabha, followed by a surge in congratulatory messages from Aam Admi Party leaders in Punjab, answered the big question raised in Punjab by both the beleaguered Congress - out of power for ten years - and the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine - facing strong anti-incumbency.

The question was: Who will be the acceptable Sikh face for AAP in Punjab? It had even sparked wild speculation that Arvind Kejriwal may become the CM candidate in Punjab; or that Bhagwant Mann would be AAP's CM face. Sidhu’s resignation, while not confirming anything, has already answered these questions.

Navjot Sidhu in his Rajya Sabha resignation letter has said: "With the closure of every window leading to Punjab the purpose stands defeated, now a mere burden. I prefer not to carry it."

"Nobody travels on the road to success without a puncture or two,” is another of Sidhu’s famous one-liners and the cricketer-turned-politician perhaps has had his fair share of holes on the path to, what for now looks, is indeterminate success.

From being asked to vacate his Lok Sabha seat in Amritsar for Arun Jaitley, to constant sparring with the Akali leadership, both Navjot Singh Sidhu and his namesake wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu - who has also resigned from the Punjab government as Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Health - have had an uneasy relationship with the state's present leadership.

Navjot Sidhu over the last few years has often warned of hindrances in his work for Amritsar by the Akali leadership.

"In the war of right or wrong, you cannot afford to be neutral. Punjab’s interest is paramount", he was quoted saying soon after his resignation. Sidhu is yet to take a final call on his political plans.

Bikram Majithia, a cabinet minister known as the general of Majha, is Union Minister Harsimrat Badal's brother. Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Tarn Taran districts make up Majha; the other two parts of Punjab being the progressive Doaba and the political hotbed Malwa.

There is constant sparring between a popular Navjot Sidhu and a connected Bikram Majithia. Consequently, the Badals never could accept Sidhu, and he returned the compliment.

Sidhu is likely to meet Arvind Kejriwal in the next few days, and AAP sources say he may be the CM candidate for Punjab laying to rest a major issue for the party that got all its four MPs in the last Lok Sabha elections from Punjab.

His wife, Navjot, contradictorily was never a part of the Punjab Government despite being very much a part of it.

Just a couple of weeks ago she took potshots at the state police asking how they were getting rich with modest salaries, while Punjab was caught in a dense drug network.

The fear of pushing the two edgy Navjots over the edge forced the Akali Dal-BJP combine tolerate her barbs with teeth clenched.

Now that they are finally over the edge, the upcoming Assembly polls in the state has just got a generous mixture of Punjabi tadka.