Talk of Navjot Singh Sidhu becoming AAP face in Punjab premature: Arvind Kejriwal

Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Punjab in 2017.

Talk of Navjot Singh Sidhu becoming AAP face in Punjab premature: Arvind Kejriwal
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New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday appeared to suggest that Navjot Singh Sidhu becoming the face of AAP in Punjab would be premature even as he admired the "courage" of the BJP leader for quitting from the Rajya Sabha.

On the possibility of Sidhu being projected as the AAP's Chief Ministerial candidate in the Punjab polls next year, Kejriwal commented, "Aisa kuch nahi hai." (There's nothing of that sort yet.)

"He has just resigned from the Rajya Sabha seat and I think all good people should resign from the BJP. I admire his courage," the Delhi Chief Minister said.

When reminded about Sidhu's criticism of him in the past, Kejriwal said "That's not an issue. But whoever joins the AAP has to become a common man first."

The Delhi Chief Minister was speaking at the launch of 'Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party', authored by Pran Kurup, his IIT Kharagpur batchmate, at the Constitution Club here.

Asked what if Sidhu wants to join AAP. Kejriwal called him a "nice" man, adding "definitely the party (AAP) should give it a thought."

Sidhu had yesterday resigned from Rajya Sabha just three months after his nomination to the Upper House by the Modi government. Sources in the AAP said he would join the party soon and may be made the party's face in the assembly elections next year.

The Chief Minister said that Delhi's governance "suffers" because those who did not get votes, got three seats, are trying to interfere in Delhi's affairs from the "backdoor".

"It does not suffer because of me going to Goa or Punjab. They say Kejriwal does not have right to suspend officers. Now if an officer is taking a bribe I would not be able to suspend him or send him to jail. Delhi suffers because they stop all small and big initiatives taken by us," he said.

Kejriwal wondered in jest as to whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will let him work if "I take back my psychopath comment".  

At the launch event, a discussion on Aam Aadmi Party's rise and future prospects saw the participation of AAP leaders Ashutosh, Dilip Pandey and Raghav Chadha.

Kurup said Kejriwal had hardly betrayed any political inclinations during his days at IIT.

On the question of AAP being non-committal about its ideological standpoint, Pandey said the party was "solutionist" in nature while Ashutosh noted that it had managed to challenge the status quo.

The book, which provides insight into Kejriwal's undergraduate days in IIT and captures his transition from a social activist to a politician, has an account of seniors ragging him and asking him to enact the role of Bollywood character Gabbar Singh.

Asked by the moderator as to whether he was asked to imitate 'Hitler' as well, pat came Kejriwal's reply, "May be someone else got to play Hitler's role", leaving the audience in splits.

He took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the AAP spends less on advertisements than the latter does on "his clothes".

Kejriwal said his deputy Manish Sisodia manages the affairs of governance well when he goes out on tours of states across the country.

Asked whether he was getting "bigger than AAP", Kejriwal said he continues to believe that idea is bigger than an individual and that people simply vote for a person who conveys those ideas well.

He also hit out at a section of the media questioning its "silence" over the wrongdoings committed by other political parties. The fourth pillar of democracy is in "danger", he said.

"If media had that much influence we would have lost both the elections. Why media is so keen on finding only our faults? Because it does not have the guts to question others," he said.