Punjab elections 2017: Expectations of local Congress leaders were dashed when Navjot Singh Sidhu reportedly headed back to Mumbai to complete his shoots as soon as the campaigning ended. Sidhu joined Congress just a month prior to the February 4 Assembly polls after procrastinating on his decision for a long time in an effort to sweeten the deal as much as possible. But now that he has become the ‘star campaigner of Congress, leaders are debating if his entry to the camp can actually bring in desirable results after his sudden departure.
The leaders complained about Sidhu’s tantrums at rallies, his late arrival in the campaigns and his refusal to move without a chopper or security cover had already vexed the leaders and they complied with his demands just for the party’s sake. The leaders complained of his late arrival and at times his failure to arrive at the election rally at all. It was tough for them to control the crowd for hours and at the end they became a laughing stock.
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In the rally which took place in Jagraon, Navjot Singh was late by 5 hours followed by delayed arrival in Dakha on the same day. Sidhu’s chopper did not get permission to fly back hence Ludhiana rural Congress president had arranged additional security men to drop him till Amritsar in his own car. Local leaders faced a tough time convincing people to stay in the venue.
Sidhu arrived late by four hours at Moga on January 29 and by the time he reached Moga, people in Gill and Rajkot of Ludhiana were already waiting for him. Although all arrangements were done for the campaign, four hours later the rally stood cancelled since Sidhu’s chopper couldn’t fly to Ludhiana from Moga for some reason. A ride by road to the destination was not accepted by him. So both the rallies had to be cancelled.
The rally scheduled for 30 January finally took place on February 2. Leaders addressed their grievances against the ‘star campaigner’ saying it was a tough task for them to convince him to be present on the February 2 rally. Though the chopper landed, he refused to budge because the police had not sent the security. After an hour of discussion he agreed to do the rally. His behaviour in the rallies had compelled the leaders thinking if all effort was worth it. They complained that his entry has been more of a ‘headache’. Rallies of Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi were cancelled because of this reason, said a leader. They voiced their apprehensions about a dreaded outcome since the High command did not take it seriously.