Awaaz-e-Punjab dead | Bains brothers to join AAP today, Navjot Sidhu in Congress?
Bathinda: Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Awaaz-e-Punjab forum effectively stands disintegrated after the new developments. Simarjit Bains and his brother Balwinder Singh Bains, both independent legislators from Punjab’s Ludhiana, met AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in Bathinda on Sunday. A formal announcement of them joining the party is expected today.
AAP organisation-building head Durgesh Pathak, who was in the meeting, confirmed that an alliance has been sealed; later a Monday press conference invitation was sent out too.
The development comes after weeks of closed-door meetings between the four Awaaz-e-Punjab leaders with Congress and AAP representatives.
This leaves Sidhu and his former MLA wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who had left the BJP, and former Indian hockey skipper Pargat Singh, who had left the SAD, with not many options except the Congress.
Sidhu had already announced that the forum will not become a party and will not contest independently. Top Source leaders information condition of anonymity, that the Bains’ team may be allotted five to six seats out of the state’s 117.
Awaaz-e-Punjab, a political forum launched in September, had initially talked about allying with non-Akali and non-Congress political outfits. Mr Sidhu had also criticised Mr Kejriwal of running the Aam Aadmi Party like a dictator. After the last round of talks, Mr Sidhu had declared that Mr Kejriwal “wants only yes men.”
There was speculation that AAP has re-opened negotiations with Mr Sidhu after it perceived a dip in popularity ahead of assembly elections to be held in Punjab early next year.
Navjot Singh Sidhu formally quit the BJP last month, but had made public his disenchantment with his party of a decade in July when he resigned from the Rajya Sabha. Since then he has been engaged in assessing other options.