New Delhi: Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said on Sunday he would do everything it takes to ensure that Congress President Rahul Gandhi unfurls the National Flag from the Red Fort.
“I won’t rest till Rahul Gandhi unfurls the Tricolour from the Red Fort. That is a pledge I take today,” said Sidhu in his trademark theatrical style that enraptured Congress delegates participating in the 84 Congress Plenary here.
Sidhu was speaking on the resolution on economy moved by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Ending every statement with an insistence to the crowd —“thoko taali” (clap)—Sidhu fired the normally dreary AICC delegates not used to his kind of rhetoric, bravado and drama.
No wonder they obliged the cricketer turned politician with generous applause every time he asked them to clap.
What’s more, he told a gathering lusting for electoral victory that he would work to make Rahul Gandhi the country’s prime minister.
“I have seen the BJP up close. They appear tall and mighty on the outside but are hollow like bamboo from the inside…Farmers are dying, weavers are naked, masons have no homes. They have like termites eaten into nation’s vitals,” said Sidhu who had quit his mother party BJP to join Congress on the eve of Punjab elections.
For the first time, Sidhu confessed he entered the Congress on the insistence of Priyanka Gandhi and not through Rahul Gandhi.
“I have the highest respect for Priyankaji. I met her only once and was assured there was hope of changing India. For me an entry to Congress is ghar wapasi,” Sidhu said referring to his father and mother, both Punjab Congress leaders.
Importantly, Sidhu did not mention Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh even once in his speech.
Congress leaders later privately remarked Sidhu’s address praising Gandhis appeared more in the mould of his preliminary attempts at posturing for leadership role in Punjab. That is in case Capt Amarinder Singh decides to retire.