Navjot Singh Sidhu
In picture: Navjot Singh Sidhu.IANS File Photo

Former cricketer and BJP member Navjot Singh Sidhu joined the Congress Party on Sunday (January 15) ahead of the Punjab Assembly Elections on February 4.

Sidhu met Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday and formally joined the Congress.

After joining the Congress, the cricketer-turned-politician took to Twitter and wrote:

The Congress also released a statement saying: "INC welcomes S. Navjot Singh Sidhu into the congress family and we thank Congress vice-president for his visionary approach in bringing together like-minded people on a common platform under the Congress umbrella. Known for his straight talking, ideological commitment to the cause of Nationalism as also wit and humour, we are certain that Congress Party will be immensely strengthened in Punjab and elsewhere with the entry of S. Sidhu."

Sidhu, who resigned from the BJP along with his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu in September 2016, reportedly wanted to join the party in the presence of Rahul Gandhi but that wasn't possible since Gandhi was out of the country for vacation. Navjot Kaur joined the Congress a few months ago.

Earlier this month, Navjot Kaur had said that either she or her husband would contest the Punjab elections, ANI reported. Navjot Singh had also launched his own party Awaaz-e-Punjab in September 2016. He was also approached by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal to join his party. But he not only refused the offer but also called Kejriwal "Nautanki company wala Kejriwal Sahib."

"We don't have anything in mind. We only want to work for the welfare of Punjab. One out of us (Navjot Kaur and Navjot Sidhu) is going to contest the upcoming election, for sure... We have to help to develop every sector of Punjab, be it industry or agriculture. Ours is a golden state and we have to make it the number one state in the country," Kaur had said adding that her husband would campaign in all the 117 assembly constituencies in the state.

Media reports suggest that the Congress Party has plans to field the former cricketer against the Badals in the upcoming assembly elections. He may be fielded either from Lambi or from Jalalabad. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is the Shiromani Akali Akali (SAD) candidate contesting from Lambi while Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is the candidate from Jalalabad.

The Congress has already released the names of 100 candidates contesting during the polls to the 117-member Punjab Assembly in February.