CHANDIGARH: The 73 day old Awaaz-e-Punjab forum of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is now disintegrated leaving Sidhu isolated as two of the five members –the independent MLAs Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains from Ludhiana (Bains Brothers) forged an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday.
The recently floated political party of Bains brothers’, the Lok Insaf Party (LIP) formally announced alliance with AAP. The party will now contest from five seats in the upcoming assembly polls. The party will contest the elections with its own symbol as it has been recently recognised by the Election Commission of India. The pact was sealed yesterday between Bains brothers after their meeting with Delhi chief minister and AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal at Bathinda.
Bains brothers’ decision to part ways with Awaaz-e-Punjab,is said to have been engineered by AAP leader Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, who was once a close aide of former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and was instrumental in Manpreet’s Peoples Party of Punjab’s merger with Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Sources said that former Indian hockey skipper Pargat Singh, who had left the Shiromani Akali Dal on September 12 and submitted his resignation from the assembly as the MLA from Jalandhar (Cantonment) is likely to join the Congress. Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh had already welcomed Pargat in the party.
The latest development leaves behind the former MP Sidhu and his wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu who had left the BJP this year. Navjot had also resigned as an MLA from Amritsar (East); however, the resignation is yet to be accepted. Sidhu had already announced that the forum will not become a party and will not contest independently.
After the alliance with AAP, Simarjit Bains said that he respects the former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, with whom they had floated the forum, Awaaz-e-Punjab.
“Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal were two sides of the same coin, and people had hope only from the AAP,’’ he said.
Talking about the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal issue, Sanjay Singh said the AAP stood with Punjab on the issue and believed that Punjab had no extra water to give others. While Simarjit Bain said that despite the fact that AAP is governing Delhi, they are of the view that Punjab should recover cost of sharing waters with Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Sidhu had formally resigned from the BJP on September 14 following his resignation from the Rajya Sabha seat on July 18.
“He (Sidhu) has cut a sorry figure for himself by his political conduct after his quitting the BJP, he is not clarifying till date what he wants to do and has taken too long to decide his next course of action. The rhetoric language he speaks about does not mean much to the general public as it wants concrete answers, solutions and suggestions. He is no more a political force which he thinks he is,’’ said Kuldeep Singh, political analyst and professor of political science in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Sidhu had changed his mind many times in a bid to get the best deal for him. While the Congress had offered him Lok sabha seat from Amritsar, if party comes to power in the state, besides a cabinet berth for his wife Navjot Kaur and five MLA seats.
He had been in talks with the Congress and has met top leaders, including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Capt Amarinder Singh initially opposed his entry into the party but gradually agreed to welcome Sidhu into the Congress. Sidhu’s father Bhagwant Singh Sidhu had remained an office-bearer of the Patiala district Congress.