Chandigarh: Navjot Singh Sidhu, who recently launched a forum called the Awaaz-e-Punjab, has abandoned the idea of following through with a new political party to contest the Punjab elections, leading to speculation about a renewal of negotiations with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party.
- 3 months is too short a time for this Herculean task (polls): Sidhu
- Sidhu quit BJP earlier this month, launched the forum Awaaz-e-Punjab
- The forum is not political, it's "for the betterment of Punjab", he said
Mr Sidhu said in a press release today that he is inviting parties to ally with his forum, which he emphasised is not political, "for the betterment of Punjab".
A severe indictment of both the ruling Akali Dal and the main opposition Congress seems to leave a window open for a tie-up with the AAP, the third major party contesting the Punjab assembly elections to be held early next year.
The cricketer-turned-politician said he had decided "not to play spoilsport and ...and divide the anti-incumbency vote bank which could indirectly benefit the corroborative and collusive Badal-Amrinder nexus which has plundered Punjab in the last 15 years".
He offered a practical reason for his decision too. "The minimum time taken by a new party to win a state is almost two years, ample testimony to the fact that three months is too short a time for this Herculean task," he said, signing off with his slogan, "May Punjab, Punjabiat and every Punjabi win."
"Sidhu has done this keeping in mind the voters who were getting confused, our detractors were labelling us as BJP agent who want to divide the anti-incumbency votes, our front will extend its support to those people who will work for betterment of Punjab," Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur told media.
Mr Sidhu, 52, resigned as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha in July this year and formally quit the BJP earlier this month after launching Awaaz-e-Punjab. For weeks, he was in talks to join AAP but Mr Sidhu said they had fallen through because Mr Kejriwal wants "only yes men."
Mr Sidhu said the Delhi chief minister had asked him not to contest the Punjab elections, offering to make his wife a minister instead if AAP won in Punjab.
He had also turned down an invitation from the Congress to join that party.