By Ravinder Singh Robin, Amritsar, Feb.5 ANI | 11 months ago

Cricketer Navjot Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Wednesday said that television reports of her husband not wanting to participate or contest in the 2014 general elections were not true.

Speaking to ANI over telephone this afternoon, Kaur, who is an MLA and the chief parliamentary secretary in the Badal government, said that though she had earlier publically stated that her husband was not interested in contesting from the Amritsar seat, there was a now a feeling within the family that there was nowhere else from where he could contest except Amritsar.

"If not Amritsar, then from where will my husband contest,'' she told ANI.

Speculative reports about Sidhu throwing in the electoral towel surfaced as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was seriously considering the impact of demographic changes brought on by the delimitation process for the Amritsar and other assembly constituencies in Punjab.

There is reportedly a view within the BJP that given its previous poll wins in Amritsar, it would be logical to field a Sikh candidate.

The Amritsar parliamentary constituency, which has 14.40 lakh voters as per the new delimitation, which has additional rural areas, now comprises a mammoth 63.87 per cent of Sikh voters out of the total voters registered.

The caste factor always weighs heavily and is considered one of the primary factors when deciding which candidate to field.

The Amritsar Lok Sabha seat has 27.41 per cent Jat Sikh voters and 19.79 per cent Majhabi Sikh voters.

"See, there are discussions going on at the party high command level. All factors, including winnability will be considered," said a senior BJP leader.

Overall, demographic figures point to dominating communities playing key roles in deciding which candidate will emerge victorious in the polls.

In the recent past, the BJP's Sikh candidate had always been a winner from this constituency. In 1998, a new face, Daya Singh Sodhi, was fielded and he won the seat though this 12 Lok Sabha did not last very long. In 1999, the BJP fielded cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, a prominent Sikh face and a Jat who won the seat by a margin of over one lakh votes, trouncing Congress old horse R.L. Bhatia. He won the seat again in 2004 and in 2009, though his winning margin dropped drastically due to an anti-incumbency factor, as he was not available locally.

Presently, apart from Sidhu, another Sikh face available with the party is BJP state vice president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina.

Chhina told the ANI that the decision on whom to field in Amritsar will be taken by the party high command.

He said any decision will be binding on him as a trusted and loyal party soldier.

He said if given an opportunity he will definitely contest the seat.

The names of Arun Jaitley and state President Kamal Sharma doing the rounds too.

(Posted on 06-02-2014)

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