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Navjot Singh Sidhu to Contest Punjab Assembly Polls, Says Party Member

Press Trust Of India

Updated: October 14, 2016, 10:38 PM IST
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Navjot Singh Sidhu to Contest Punjab Assembly Polls, Says Party Member
Former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, the founder of Awaaz-e-Punjab, had earlier said he would not float a political party (TWITTER PHOTO)

Chandigarh: With Awaaz-e-Punjab keeping its cards close to its chest regarding the front’s future course of action, one of its members, Simarjit Singh Bains, on Friday said Navjot Singh Sidhu will contest the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.

The Independent MLA from Ludhiana said the front, which had earlier announced that it would not to form a political outfit, was "in talks" with the high-command of "both the Congress and the AAP" for an alliance.

"(Navjot Singh) Sidhu will surely fight the (2017 Assembly) election," Bains said even as the cricketer-turned-politician could not be contacted.

Asked if Sidhu’s wife and Amritsar East MLA Navjot Kaur would also contest the polls, he said, "Yes," adding that the other members of Awaaz-e-Punjab — former hockey captain Pargat Singh, he and his brother Balwinder Bains — would also contest the polls.

Sidhu, the founder of Awaaz-e-Punjab, had earlier said he would not float a political party, though he was "ready for an alliance for the betterment of Punjab".

The front had ruled out the possibility of forming or joining hands with a "fourth front" so as not to play a "spoilsport by dividing the anti-incumbency votes".

Despite Punjab Congress leaders claiming that nobody from the party was in touch with Sidhu for an alliance, Bains claimed Awaaz-e-Punjab was "in contact" with the party’s high-command.

"Sidhu is in touch with the Congress high-command," he said, while refusing to name the person in the Congress party with whom the former BJP MP was in touch.

"We are not in talks with the state Congress leadership, including Amarinder Singh," added Bains.

However, he said, "Amarinder very well knows with whom the talks are on in Delhi."
Bains said, "Sidhu does not go to anyones house for a meeting. The leaders of the high-command come to meet him at his Delhi residence."

A few days back, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, while replying to a query on the Sidhu couples claim that they were in "direct contact" with the Congress "central leadership", had said they should also name those with whom they were in touch.

Bains also claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) top brass was also "in touch" with Awaaz-e-Punjab.

He though insisted that the front "would not merge" with any political party. "There will be no merger with any party," he said, adding that they were "in favour of an alliance".

Amarinder had earlier ruled out an alliance with Awaaz-e-Punjab, saying the front was "welcome to merge" with the Congress.

Asked when will the front decide on its future course of action, Bains said, "We are not in a hurry. The best decision in the interest of the state will be taken. It may take two or 20 days."

Asked to comment on an FIR lodged against some Congressmen at Ludhiana, the Independent MLA said, "It is absolutely wrong to register an FIR against the Congress leaders. A clash had occurred between the members of the Akali Dal and the Congress, but the FIR under IPC section 307 was registered only against the Congressmen."

Alleging "police bias", Punjab Congress leaders have been staging a dharna outside the residence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here.

It may be recalled that Amarinder has frequently changed his stance as regards Sidhu and his front. Initially, he had said, "Sidhu has Congress in his DNA." But later, he had described Awaaz-e-Punjab as the 'Tonga party'.

The front floated by Sidhu had also claimed that it "would not align" with the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Congress. But Thursday, the state Congress chief, while softening his stance on Sidhu, had said, "Not just Sidhu, but all those committed to Punjab's governance, to whichever party they may
belong, are welcome to join the Congress unconditionally."

First Published: October 14, 2016, 10:38 PM IST
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