Members of Awaaz-e-Punjab have given full authority to Navjot Singh Sidhu to decide on the political forum’s future course of action as well as its tie-ups ahead of the Assembly elections. Speaking to The Indian Express today, Pargat Singh, a founder member of the forum, said he along with two other founder members, Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains, Independent MLAs from Ludhiana, had met Sidhu in New Delhi last Wednesday. “We have decided to let him take the decision on who we are going to ally with or what our next course of action should be.” He added he had not spoken to Sidhu since that meeting but was hopeful that a decision on the next move will be made public very soon.
When asked if the decision on the forum’s alignment was getting delayed due to deliberations with various parties, the former Indian hockey skipper said there was still ample time for campaigning for the assembly polls to begin in earnest. “Those parties who have already announced their candidates have done it a bit early. Their candidates are already facing cadre fatigue because the campaigning must be built up to a crescendo and should not flag down. I feel we have ample time to gear up for the elections,” he said.
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While there are widespread reports that Awaaz-e-Punjab is inclined to join hands with the Congress, Pargat said both AAP and Congress were their options right now. However, Sidhu’s caustic remarks against Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Singh is likely to cause hiccups if Sidhu wants to have a tie-up with Congress. In a statement, Sidhu had categorically said, “Amarinder is hand in glove with the Badals and his dubious deals with the Badals are an open secret. There is no question of betraying the people of Punjab.”
As of now, Sidhu is keeping his cards close to his chest and has stayed away from the media after his last press conference in Chandigarh on September 8. He has been making statements through the political assistants of his wife and the latest barb that he issued was targeted Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who had accused Sidhu of trying to bargain for a best deal. In his statement, Sidhu called Sukhbir a “ businessman” who “sold Punjab for his vested interests”.