Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, in his own flamboyant way, told reporters in a press conference in New Delhi on Monday that he was a "born Congressman".
"I'm a born Congressman. My identity, from birth, is that of a Congressman. I owe my existence to Congress," Sidhu said.
"I have returned to my identity. This is my ghar wapsi. Main waapas ghar aa gaya (I have returned home)," he said, adding that he was not affected by any remarks against him.
"It is said that Sidhu used to call the party (BJP) his mother. I used to call it mother but even Kaikeyi was a mother who sent his son to vanvaas. You should decide who is Kaikeyi and who is Kaushalya," Sidhu said.
"It is known who Manthara was, who was insecure of Sidhu. The public knows everything," he said. "This is not my personal quarrel. This is the fight for Punjab's existence and pride," he added.
"Punjab is our pride," said the former BJP leader. It was then that Sidhu launched a caustic attack against the ruling SAD-BJP government. "Annadata ko bhikari bana ke khada kar diya (Farmers were turned into beggars). Shouldn't we fight for this? Should every man keep thinking about himself?" he said.
"Today, 55 percent people in Punjab are youth. Drugs is a reality in Punjab. You cannot have an ostrich mentality: Bury your head deep in a pit and think it does not exist," he said.
" It is now time for the people who have forgotten God and oppressed people to face justice," Sidhu said.
"Bhaag, Baba Badal bhaag. Kursi khaali kar, Punjab ki janta aati hai (Run, Baba Badal, run. Leave the chair, the people of Punjab are coming)," Sidhu said, attacking the Punjab government even more dramatically.
Bhaag baaba Badal bhaag, kursi khaali kar, Punjab ki janta aati hai: Navjot Singh Sidhu pic.twitter.com/FLweKXmxcV
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 16, 2017
"Abhi toh sir, party shuru hui hai (Right now, I've just begun)," he told reporters, implying that his criticism was about to get more caustic. "I am shocked that no one said that drugs is a reality. In Punjab, politicians have made police their puppets and there is a nexus with drug peddlers. There are films being made on the condition in Punjab," he said. Sidhu then said that this was not any individual squabble but a fight for "the redemption of Punjab". "A government by the people is now the government for a family," he said, attacking the Shiromani Akali Dal. "Akali Dal used to be a party but has now become a property," he added.
Sidhu then made some serious allegations againt Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD president and son of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
"Chote Badal sahab has studied from Oxford. Sukhbhir, dhandha karte ho, dhandha. I will tell people where you have sold Punjab," said Sidhu dramatically.
When asked about how he could join hands with Congress when he had earlier been a BJP leader and had criticised Congress on several occasions, Sidhu said, "If Lalu can join hands with Nitish, can't we join hands? I am ready to work under anybody. I am soldier out there to fight for Punjab. I am not here for individual battles."
Asked about how his bargain with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had not worked, Sidhu said that "Kejriwal sahab himself had tweeted that Sidhu had not asked for anything."
He also criticised BJP, saying, "They (BJP) chose alliance. Sidhu chose Punjab."
"Unhone alliance ko chuna, maine Punjab ko chuna" Sidhu refrains from answering question on his views on Mr Modi as PM pic.twitter.com/jHhVZMQUnK
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 16, 2017
Sidhu on Sunday had joined the Congress after meeting Rahul Gandhi and the party had said it would be "immensely strengthened" in poll-bound Punjab with his presence.
53-year-old Sidhu is likely to contest from Amritsar East Assembly seat, party leaders had said.
Sidhu had resigned from Rajya Sabha and quit BJP following which his wife Navjot Kaur had joined Congress on 28 November. Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh had said sometime back that Sidhu joining the party was only a matter of time.
Sidhu was earlier member of Lok Sabha from Amritsar and was apparently not happy when in the last Lok Sabha polls, he was replaced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who was subsequently defeated by Amarinder Singh.
BJP's ally Akali Dal, which has had frosty ties with Sidhu, was quick to hit out at the former Amritsar MP, saying he has joined the "party and family" which had "attacked Darbar Sahib" (Golden Temple).
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jan 16, 2017 12:11:05 IST