Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh pulled back the curtain on his closely guarded private life, letting Canadians know Tuesday night that he is engaged.
Singh, 38, proposed to girlfriend Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu, 27, at a private party Tuesday night just blocks away from the Ontario legislature in Toronto where he served as a provincial legislator for six years.
Singh surprised Sidhu, an entrepreneur and fashion designer, with the proposal in front of several dozen friends and family members at a vegetarian restaurant where they had their first date.
Singh was elected federal NDP leader last fall and had been guarded about his personal life, but social media posts in December made headlines after it was reported he and Sidhu were engaged.
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The couple shot down the rumours, saying it was instead a “rokha,” a traditional Punjabi ceremony held ahead of a wedding and usually attended by close family.
Until December, Singh had declined to confirm or deny that he was in a relationship.
Along with friends and family, Singh invited several members of the media, including The Canadian Press, to witness the surprise proposal Tuesday night.
Friends cheered as Singh and Sidhu arrived. Singh pulled a ring out of his jacket pocket and got down on one knee to propose to Sidhu, who accepted.
A few moments later, the couple waded into the crowd and Sidhu shouted, raising one hand in the air, “Everyone, I’m engaged!”
Photos posted to Singh’s social media profiles on Tuesday night show him kneeling before Sidhu, and also kissing her. On Twitter, a caption reads “She said yes.”
Asked why he decided to make this news public and what he wants Canadians to know about it, Singh said he was excited about the engagement. “I’m super excited to take this step forward — to have a life and future together with my partner,” he said.
Sidhu is co-founder of jangiiro, which bills itself as a “new age” Punjabi clothing line. She also does international humanitarian work, according to James Smith, a spokesperson for Singh.
The two have known each other “quite some time,” Smith said, but he didn’t have details on how the couple first met.
With files from Bruce Campion-Smith