New Delhi, September 8: After weeks of indecisiveness over party affiliations, former BJP leader and Rajya Sabha Member Navjot Singh Sidhu launched his own political party, Awaaz-e-Punjab which will be the fourth front in the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab. From Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party to the Indian National Congress, he was wooed by both political rivals of BJP, when ultimately he decided to form his own front. Sidhu resigned from BJP after he was allegedly denied from getting involved in Punjab in the run-up of the elections. His celebrity status was being used for attracting voters while the political gains went to other regional BJP leaders, he reasoned.
“Awaaz-e-Punjab is a revolutionary voice,” Sidhu said while launching his party on Thursday. “It is the resurrection and revival of Punjab which is in dire strait,” he said adding that the state was no longer number one in the country. He even took a dig at the Badal family which is currently party of the ruling coalition. Prakash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister of Punjab has been accused of monopolising key sectors in the state for personal profits, for nepotism in allotting ministerial berths and rampant corruption. “Government should be for the people but in Punjab it is all about one family,” Sidhu told reporters.
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The former Parliamentarian, who was rumoured to join AAP, absolved its supremo, Kejriwal from playing a role in his decision to quit BJP. A number of media reports suggested that Sidhu had laid conditions before the AAP, asking not just to be the star campaigner but also the Chief Ministerial Candidate. His mention of the Delhi Chief Minister did not end there. Instead, he accused Kejriwal of trying to make a deal with him that would keep Sidhu at bay. “Kejriwal ji tweeted about meeting the with me, but he said half truth. Let me complete it: Kejriwal ji told me, ‘don’t fight elections, ask your wife to contest and we will make her a minister.’ I said Sat shri Akal,” he said. Adding to it, he said the Delhi Chief Minister only wants “yes men”.
The 52-year-old didn’t spare BJP either and in an indirect reference, said: “”One good person is better than a hundred bad people…Our slogan is Punjab will win, Punjabiyat will win and Punjabis will win”. “People are playing the politics of fear, they have strangled democracy,” he added.
(ALSO READ: Navjot Singh Sidhu not for AAP: 5 reasons why it simplifies ‘Mission Punjab’ for Arvind Kejriwal)
The cricketer-turned politician was flanked by independent legislator in Punjab Assembly Balwinder Singh Bains and former hockey captain Pargat Singh. Addressing questions about his plan to contest elections, Sidhu said that Awaaz-e-Punjab “is not a party, it is a forum” and they will take 15 more days before announcing more details.
Fielding questions about his political ambitions, he said he quit his position as a Rajya Sabha not in exchange for more political gains. He said that Kejriwal and his party workers tried to woo him but he did pay heed to it. His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu is still a BJP legislator in Punjab, but is expected to quit soon, prior to next year’s assembly elections.