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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Sidhu's nomination papers found incomplete
In a situation that is extremely interesting and a sort of anti-climax, so to speak, Navjot Singh Sidhu, the cricketer-turned-politician, will not be filing his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha by-election in Amritsar in Punjab on Wednesday.

The reason is that his nomination papers have been found incomplete.

Sidhu was all set to file his nomination papers after the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed his conviction in a manslaughter case -- something that has never happened in the history of post-Independence India.

Sidhu had resigned as Member of Parliament (Bharatiya Janata Party) from Amritsar in December 2006 after the Punjab and Haryana High Court found him guilty of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" for the death of 65-year-old Gurnam Singh, a resident of Patiala, in 1988.

Sidhu and another man had, in a fit of road rage on the road, beaten Gurnam Singh to death.

Since then, Sidhu became a cricket commentator and later entered politics.

The stay by the Supreme Court had been very timely for Sidhu. And, former Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, whose Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will fight the Punjab Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP, had remarked that the Supreme Court’s verdict was a "morale booster."

"The verdict has paved the way for Sidhu to contest once again the elections from the Amritsar parliamentary seat and he will again win," Badal had said.

Badal had added that Sidhu would be the alliance's star campaigner in the Punjab polls and that "Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will pay for his wrongdoing during his tenure."

Sidhu’s conviction had been a setback for the BJP, which will be contesting 23 Assembly seats and the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

Punjab Finance Minister Surender Singh will be the Congress candidate in the Amritsar by-election.

Meanwhile, BJP president Rajnath Singh has declared that Sidhu would be the candidate for Amritsar following the Supreme Court order in his favour, ending speculation on the possibility of the party fielding its general secretary Arun Jaitley.

Asked how the BJP would defend giving ticket to a man convicted by the High Court, Jaitley said: "Sidhu would now go to the voters. They must decide. After all, he took a risk when he resigned his seat. He could not have contested had the Supreme Court not suspended his conviction."

Asked about L K Advani, former president of the BJP, resigning his Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and deciding not to enter Parliament unless he was cleared by court in the hawala scandal, Jaitley said: "There are different ways of expressing moral posturing."

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posted by a correspondent @ 10:36 AM    
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