Amritsar: Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu's incessant wisecracks on television shows barely made up for his long absences from this constituency, where he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha by a dangerously slender margin.
Sidhu, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, managed to retain his seat on Saturday by being just 7,332 votes ahead of his nearest rival, Om Prakash Soni of the Congress.
Sidhu, who contested from here in the 2004 general election for the first time after joining politics, had then won this seat by nearly 110,000 votes. He had trounced Congress heavyweight Raghunandan Lal Bhatia, a six-time MP from here.
The chirpy Sidhu, who had quit the seat after being convicted by the Punjab and Haryana high court in a culpable homicide case in December 2006, was re-elected in February 2007. This time, his margin was reduced to 77,000 votes.
This time, the margin has come down by another 70,000, leaving his supporters wondering about his real popularity. During counting, Sidhu trailed his rival for several hours before being declared the winner.
Sidhu's absence from his constituency and from Lok Sabha sittings has been questioned even though he is regularly seen on several TV shows.