The AAP was on Friday taken aback by Navjot Singh Sidhu’s decision to float a political outfit in poll-bound Punjab after weeks of speculation that he might join the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit. Former BJP leader Sidhu, who quit his Rajya Sabha seat last month, was being wooed by the AAP, but both the sides could not reach an agreement.
The news of Sidhu forming a political front comes at a time when the party is facing the prospect of a vertical split after its state convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur was sacked over allegations of bribery. “We have learnt that Sidhu has formed a political front. It is up to him to comment whether they will launch a party or not,” AAP’s Punjab state in-charge Sanjay Singh said.
Himmat Singh Shergill, an AAP leader in Punjab, said forming a political outfit is a personal decision of Sidhu.
Asked whether it would hurt AAP’s prospects in next year’s Assembly election, Shergill said, “The Aam Aadmi Party
is based on an ideology and not on an individual. People are with us.”
The cricketer-turned-politician is all set to float his own political outfit “Awaaz-e-Punjab” after joining hands with some ousted Akali legislators. Last month, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had sought to scotch “rumours” on Sidhu’s possible induction into AAP, saying the cricketer-turned-politician has not put any pre-condition and just needs “time to think”.
Kejriwal said his respect for Sidhu, who met him on August 12 at his residence, would continue irrespective of
whether “he joins (AAP) or not”. Earlier, the AAP chief had said that talks of Sidhu becoming the party’s face in Punjab were “premature”. “Wud Navjot Sidhu ji join AAP- lot of rumours? Its my duty to put forward our side. We have greatest greatest regard for this ckt legend. He met me last week.
“Didn’t put any pre-condition. He needs time to think. Lets respect that. He is a v gud human being n a ckt legend. My respect for him wud continue whether he joins or not (sic),” Kejriwal had said in a series of tweets.