Top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) Punjab unit have reportedly come out in open rebellion against sitting Amritsar Member of Parliament and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying that they would like to replace him with senior party leader Arun Jaitley.
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi, state BJP vice president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, state general secretary Tarun Chugh, former Minister Baldev Raj Chawla and others placed this demand before the media today.
"To win every seat is important, and we will ensure that Jaitley is sent to the Lok Sabha with a heavy margin of votes from Amritsar," said Joshi.
He said though he has no grudge against Sidhu or anyone else, this is the wish of the public.
Chhina, who is emerging as the most probable candidate for the seat, said should Jaitley be chosen, it would have an unprecedented positive effect not only in Punjab, but also in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
"After winning the seat, Jaitley will bring unprecedented development projects for the city and for border areas,'' claimed Chhina.
He said Jaitley's mother belongs to the city and that he had spent his childhood here. Therefore, it was but natural for him to be concerned about the city's plight.
Joshi, Chhina and other leaders have been at loggerheads with Sidhu in the past, and off late, had not even been on talking terms.
"We live amongst the public. We want to convey a message to the party high commend that Arun Jaitley is the right choice," said Joshi.
"Even Punjab Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Revenue Minister have conveyed this message to BJP national president Rajnath Singh," he added.
It may be recalled that Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur had triggered a `war of words' against Badals alleging that developments works related to Amritsar had been scuttled by the latter, whereas he had no answer to give over his non-availability and absence from the city during his term as MP.
The crowded press conference was attended by the senior leadership, including Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora, District President Naresh Sharma, general secretary Kewal Kumar and others.