Navjot Singh Sidhu floats new political party ahead of Punjab polls

New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jan 30, 2017, 11:16 AM IST
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Navjot Singh Sidhu's new party is called Awaaz-e-Punjab Photograph:(Facebook)

Former BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu today announced his own political party named Awaz-e-Punjab (Voice of Punjab), just months before election in Punjab, a state in north India.

The announcement comes as a blow for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who were pinning their hopes on Sidhu to play a key role in their election campaign. AAP is an Indian political party that spawned off the popular anti-graft campaign named India Against Corruption.

Sidhu's party will be formally launched in the next 3-4 days, according to Indian news agency PTI.

Sidhu's wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, put a poster on Facebook where they are flanked by suspended Akali leader Pargat Singh and the Bains brothers of Ludhiana.

In the poster, the fledgling party's members vow to "raise voice against those who have destroyed Punjab".

Independent MLA from Ludhiana South Balwinder Bains said, "We have jointly formed a new platform Awaaz-e-Punjab."

"We have decided to form a new front to fight all forces which have ruined Punjab," said Pargat Singh, who was suspended from the Akali Dal for "anti-party behaviour" in July.

Navjot Kaur Sidhu told news agency ANI, "I don't even know if it's the fourth front, I just know these are four good people who want to work for Punjab." 

There was speculation that Sidhu would join the AAP after he met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence in mid-August. 

However, on August 19, Kejriwal tweeted that the cricketer-turned-politician just needed "time to think" and that he had "not put any pre-condition", a reference to speculation that Sidhu wanted to be the chief ministerial face of the AAP.

He also added that his respect for Sidhu would continue irrespective of whether "he joins (AAP) or not".

The news comes at a time when the AAP is already bogged down with the prospect of a vertical split after its state convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur was sacked over allegations of bribery.  

Even Congress, an opposition party, tried to court Sidhu after he resigned from Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Parliament of India).

(WION with inputs from PTI)