Chandigarh: Navjot Singh Sidhu, dressed in black and white, spoke mostly in Punjabi as he launched a new political front, the Awaaz-e-Punjab, ahead of assembly elections in Punjab.
“The resurrection, and revival of Punjab is the aim of Awaaz-e-Punjab,” said the cricketer turned politician, who had resigned as Rajya Sabha member in July, also walking out of the BJP, his party for over a decade.
He said he was in politics to serve the people, not for personal gain.
“One good person is better than a hundred bad people…Our slogan is Punjab will win, Punjabiyat will win and Punjabis will win,” the 52-year-old said, making a strong attack on BJP ally, the ruling Akali Dal.
“People are playing the politics of fear, they have strangled democracy,” alleged Mr Sidhu, who decided to go solo after his talks with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to join the Aam Aadmi Party disintegrated.
Mr Sidhu has only five months to get his party election-ready and political observers say that is not enough time to make a serious impact, but he could definitely cut into the votes of the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP, with both making a debut and pitching a change in Punjab, ruled so far either by the Congress or the Akali Dal.
There is buzz that Mr Sidhu could draw the support of AAP’s sacked Punjab chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur, whose supporters in the party have rebelled in protest against his removal over allegations of corruption in selecting election candidates.
The new Sidhu front was announced last week via a bright poster that featured him with his close friend and former hockey great Pargat Singh, suspended by the Akali Dal, and two brothers from Ludhiana, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains, both independent lawmakers in the Punjab assembly.
Mr Sidhu’s talks with the AAP reportedly because he wanted to be projected as the party’s presumptive Chief Minister. He will play that role in his new front.
The former batsman did not consider an offer made by the Congress to join that party. His wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who is still a BJP lawmaker in Punjab, is expected to quit soon too.