New Delhi: Navjot Singh Sidhu today credited his victory and his Congress party's big win in Punjab to state chief Captain Amarinder Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, and launched into his characteristic stream of quotable quotes. "I promise to Sonia Gandhi that we will sacrifice anything to restore the glory of Punjab," the cricketer-turned-politician told reporters.
- Arvind Kejriwal lost because his intention was not pure: Navjot Sidhu
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Describing the Punjab contest as a battle for "Congress's identity and its Pagdi (honour)", he touched his own bright yellow pagdi or turban.
"This is the revival of the Congress. It is a beginning. The Congress will revive from here. The party will take strength from here and spread across the country," he added.
The Congress has returned to power in Punjab with a huge majority, winning 77 seats in the 117 member assembly. The Akali-BJP combine, which was in power for 10 years, was reduced to number three, after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which won 22 seats.
Mr Sidhu, a former BJP MP, won the assembly election from the Amritsar-east constituency by a margin of 42,409 votes against his BJP and AAP rivals.
The popular commentator joined the Congress just days ahead of the February polls in the state and was a star campaigner along with Captain Amarinder Singh, who headed the party's campaign.
AAP was Mr Sidhu's original destination after he quit the BJP in September, upset about being sidelined and denied his Amritsar seat in the 2014 election. Mr Sidhu briefly headed his political front 'Avaaz-e-Punjab', a non-starter, before turning his focus to the Congress.
"Arvind Kejriwal lost because his niyat (intention) was not pure. He wanted everything for himself," Mr Sidhu said, taking a dig at the AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister, whose party suffered defeats both in Punjab and Goa.
Congress leaders spoke about a significant role for Mr Sidhu in the new government, but Amarinder Singh was non-committal, saying any such decision will be taken by Rahul Gandhi.