Former cricketer Harbhajan Singh is likely to be nominated to Rajya Sabha from Punjab by the new Aam Aadmi Party government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, sources have said.
The former off-spinner may be given charge of a new sports university in Jalandhar, which Mr Mann had promised to set up during the campaign for the elections held last month. The new Chief Minister has promised to make promoting sports a priority.
If he becomes Rajya Sabha MP, Mr Singh, 41, would enter a list of former sportspersons who has served as MP in the upper house, such as Sachin Tendulkar.
“The top leadership of AAP, including the new Chief Minister, has approached Harbhajan Singh with an offer to become their nominated candidate for next Rajya Sabha term. The new Chief Minister wants Harbhajan to work for lifting the standards of sports in the state, which has gone down considerably in past few years,” news agency PTI reported quoting an unnamed person who is close to the former cricketer.
“Harbhajan was always interested in working for the people, especially for the benefit and betterment of sportspersons. If an opportunity arises, he would love to take up the responsibility as he has always shared cordial relationship with Bhagwant Mann,” the source told PTI.
Before announcing his retirement, Mr Singh had met with his former teammate and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu. A photo of the two on Twitter led to speculations of Mr Singh joining the Congress, which he denied later.
The Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, which has its roots in Delhi, decimated the ruling Congress to form government in a full-fledged state for the first time. The AAP in Delhi under Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t have all the powers that a Chief Minister in a full state has since Delhi is a Union Territory. The new AAP government in Punjab, however, will have the police department under its command.