This is homecoming for me: Navjot Sidhu

New Delhi: A day after his formal induction into the party, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday termed his joining the Congress as his "homecoming" and launched a broadside against Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

"I am a born Congressman. This is (ghar wapsi) a homecoming for me," Sidhu said.  "This is not my personal fight in Punjab. This (election) is a fight for Punjab's existence, its self-respect.... Punjab which was once known for Green Revolution, is now notorious for 'chitta' (a lethal synthetic drug popular among the youth of the state).

"My fight in Punjab is the redemption of Punjab," he added. He also said that drugs were a reality in Punjab and one has to accept that it exists. "About 55 per cent of Punjab's population is the youth. What direction are we giving them?" Sidhu said adding that someone have to give them direction.

"Drugs is a reality in Punjab. One cannot have that ostrich mentality. It does exist. We'll have strong laws and rules to curb drug menace in Punjab," he added. He also said there was a nexus between the politicians, police and drug peddlers in Punjab. 

"Punjab has a debt of almost Rs 2 lakh crore. A government by the people, is now a government for the family in Punjab," he said hitting out at the Badal family. "Akali Dal too started as a 'jamaat' (gathering of pure) but has now turned into a private property," Sidhu said. 

He said that his father too was a Congressman and took part in the freedom struggle as a member of the Kirti Ghadar Party. 

Sidhu is expected to contest the February 4, Punjab assembly election from Amritsar East, part of the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency which he represented for the Bharatiya Janata Party from 2004 to 2014.

Sidhu said he would contest from whichever constituency the party asked him to stand from.

IANS