Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, suspended Akali MLA Pargat Singh and some other prominent leaders on Thursday formally launched Awaz-e-Punjab. It may be mentioned that Punjab Assembly elections are due early next year.
Mr. Sidhu said at a press conference in Chandigarh that the time has come for public-spirited people to come forward, join hands and work for the resurgence of Punjab, which has been pushed into a bad State.
“There’s has been a tradition in our country that good people are used for campaigning and later kept as decoration piece. We want to shake up the prevailing system that has ruined Punjab,” he said.
Attacking the ruling Akali-BJP government, Mr. Sidhu said: “In Punjab it’s all about one family [referring to the Badals] . . .our constitution says that government should be for the people, but in Punjab the government is only about one family.”
“Punjab – the State which led the green revolution is now in a debt of nearly two lakh crore.. People are fed up with the current rule, they are looking forward for a change in governance now,” he said.
Mr. Sidhu said the Awaz-e-Punjab is not a party but a forum for all like-minded people to come together who aspire to serve Punjab’s interests. “People want strong leaders and this time we should make sincere efforts to make Punjab emerge victorious.”
Mr. Sidhu, who resigned as Rajya Sabha member after differences with his party, said the BJP conveniently set him aside after forming the government for which he had rigorously campaigned and worked.
“The Aam Aadmi Party [AAP] is no different as they also wanted to make me a decoration piece,” he said.
“Kejriwalji tweeted about the meeting, but he said half-truth. Let me complete it. He [Kejriwal] offered a ministerial berth to my wife if the AAP won and asked me not to fight the elections,” he said.
The Awaz-e-Punjab, along with Mr. Sidhu and Pargat Singh has the support of the ”Bains brothers”- Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains, who are Ludhiana-based Independent MLAs.