Ahead of the Punjab Assembly election, Navjot Singh Sidhu-led Awaaz-e-Punjab on Wednesday declared that it would not align with the Congress in the state. The move comes just a day after Sidhu's organisation had said that it was open for a political alliance with Aam Aadmi Party and Congress in Punjab, reported The Indian Express.
In a statement sent to The Indian Express, Awaaz-e-Punjab said that they didn't want any political relationship with Captain Amarinder Singh, as the state Congress chief was involved in a behind-the-curtain deal with the Badal family.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Congress strategist Prashant Kishor, who is handling the party's campaign for Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections, is in contact with the members of Awaz-e-Punjab.
Meanwhile, Sindhu's outfit has also revived contacts with AAP, reported The Economic Times.
"Though it is for my party to take a final decision, I have made the suggestion to both senior leaders of AAP as well as to those in Awaaz-e-Punjab to come together. I have kept a line open with Pargat (Singh) over a period of time. In my personal opinion, we should bring these people in to keep Badals and Amarinder at bay," The Economic Times quoted AAP's Punjab leader HS Phoolka as saying.
Days after announcing that the Awaaz-e-Punjab, formed by former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, would not float a political party to contest the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the front on Tuesday had said it will look at the prospects of forging an alliance with the Congress or the AAP, while ruling out the possibility of joining a fourth front.
"We have decided to look at the possibilities in the Congress and the AAP to see which party has a strong agenda for Punjab and which can look after the state's interests. After that, we will take a decision on forging an alliance with either of the parties to contest the Assembly polls on a common minimum agenda," one of the front representatives and Ludhiana MLA Simarjit Singh Bains told PTI.
Sidhu had said they decided against forming a political party as it was too short a time to prepare for polls, but added that they were open to "alliance" for betterment of Punjab.
"I have pondered over the fluid political situation in Punjab, weighed the pros and cons and come to a conclusive decision...We will not confuse the people of Punjab but give them clarity to vote in Punjab's interest.
"We will not divide the anti-incumbency vote bank which could indirectly benefit the corroborative and collusive Badal-Amarinder nexus which has plundered Punjab in the last 15 years. This will defeat our purpose of bringing a change for the betterment of Punjab," Sidhu had said.
"Our battle is to shake the system that has ruined Punjab. Politics is not a profession but a mission. There is no personal or political vendetta, just a burning desire to place Punjab ahead of us and reinforce the positive forces," he had said.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, AAP had accused the Navjot Singh Sidhu-led front of "bargaining for the best deal." However, Congress had said it would welcome them if their agendas match.
"I consider it a political statement. I am smelling that it (Awaaz-e-Punjab) is bargaining with two political parties for getting best deal to work with," AAP's Punjab Convenor Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi had said.
Independent MLA and member of Awaaz-e-Punjab Simarjit Singh Bains on Tuesday had said the front will "look at the possibilities in the Congress and the AAP to see which party has a strong agenda for Punjab and which can look after the state's interests. After that, we will take a decision on forging an alliance with either of the parties to contest the Assembly polls on a common minimum agenda."
Sidhu, along with MLA Pargat Singh and Ludhiana MLAs Simarjit Bains and Balwinder Bains, had formally quit the BJP which on 14 September.
In July, Sidhu had said that he quit Rajya Sabha because the BJP had asked him to stay away from Punjab.
"I quit the Rajya Sabha because I was told that I cannot look at Punjab and will have to keep away from it. No dharma is bigger than Punjab for me," he had said.
After Sindhu resigned form the Rajya Sabha, speculations were rife that he may join AAP. However, the cricketer-turned-politician decided to launch his own front after AAP declined to make Sindhu the party's face in Punjab.
On 19 July, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had ruled out Sidhu becoming the face of AAP in Punjab.
On the possibility of Sidhu being projected as the AAP's chief ministerial candidate in the Punjab polls next year, Kejriwal had said, "Aisa kuch nahi hai." (There's nothing of that sort yet.)
"He has just resigned from the Rajya Sabha seat and I think all good people should resign from the BJP. I admire his courage," the Delhi chief minister had said.
With inputs from PTI and IANS