Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday officially joined the Congress’ Punjab unit. He met party vice president Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence, reported ANI.

Sidhu’s induction into the Congress is likely to give the party a boost before the Assembly election on February 4. The party is hoping to cash in on Sidhu’s popularity and mass appeal and be a strong competitor against the Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party, reported Hindustan Times. “Known for his straight talking, ideological commitment to nationalism as also wit and humour, we are certain the Congress party will be immensely strengthened in Punjab and elsewhere with the entry of Sidhu,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The cricketer-turned-politician is likely to take on a senior SAD leader. “He is a candidate from Amritsar East,” Congress president in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, had said. The president had on November 23 announced that Sidhu will join the party, but the cricketer-turned politician continued to keep everyone guessing for almost three months.

Sidhu and his wife had both resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party on September 14. Calling it a dictatorship, Navjot Kaur Sidhu had alleged that the party did not let her work on the problems her constituency was facing.