A New Political Outfit in Punjab

Founder of new front 'Awaz-e-Punjab' Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses a press conference in Chandigarh on Thursday. Photo courtesy | PTI
Founder of new front 'Awaz-e-Punjab' Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses a press conference in Chandigarh on Thursday. Photo courtesy | PTI

CHANDIGARH (TIP): Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu formally announced his new political front ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’ in Chandigarh on Thursday, September 8.

“At this stage ‘Awaaz e Punjab’ is not a party, it’s a forum. The redemption, resurrection and revival of this state is the aim of our Awaaz-e-Punjab,” Sidhu said at a media briefing in Chandigarh. Sidhu had resigned from the Rajya Sabha on July 18, fueling speculation that he may join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). On Thursday, he attacked both AAP chief Arvind Kejrwal and the BJP.

“Kejriwalji told him don’t fight (the upcoming Punjab) elections. Ask your wife to contest, (i/we) will make her a minister. I said ‘Sat Shri Akal’,” Sidhu said. The AAP chief, Sidhu added, only wants “yes men.” The former cricketer said his resignation from the Rajya Sabha “had nothing to do with Kejriwalji”.

In a veiled attack on the BJP, Sidhu said that good leaders in India have been reduced to mute spectators. “There is a tradition in India that good people are kept as decoration pieces and used only for campaigning,” Sidhu said.

The former Rajya Sabha member had on September 2 floated the ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’ front. It is expected to contest the Punjab assembly elections that are slated for early next year.

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Other members of the new front include former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh, a legislator of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, and two independent legislators, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains. Pargat Singh was last month suspended from the Akali Dal for “anti-party” activities. The Bains brothers, who had fallen out with the Akali Dal top leadership three years ago, have significant influence in Ludhiana district.

Highlighting the blueprint of his front for the upcoming Punjab elections, Sidhu said that their aim is to make the state prosperous again by fighting people who have ‘ruined Punjab’. In his media briefing, he also talked about Punjab’s drug menace. “Where is the Punjab that used to produce so many sportsmen? Today, the streets are filled with drug addicts,” Sidhu said.

Elections to 117 assembly seats are likely to be held in January or early February next year.

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