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Posted at: Sep 3, 2016, 1:34 AM; last updated: Sep 3, 2016, 1:34 AM (IST)

Awaaz-e-Punjab: Front will fill political void: Bains

To be formally launched next week | To contest all 117 seats

Minna Zutshi

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 2

Awaaz-e-Punjab, launched by former BJP MP Navjot Sidhu along with suspended Akali MLA Pargat Singh and Ludhiana’s Independent legislators Bains brothers, is all set to make the high-stakes Assembly elections a four-cornered contest.

Awaaz-e-Punjab is a political front “by the tried and tested watchdogs (parkhe hoye chowkidaar) of Punjab,” Independent  MLA Simarjit Singh Bains told The Tribune here today. The front, to be led by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, would fill the political vacuum in the state, he said, stressing that “honest and dedicated individuals” would be its members.

“Awaaz-e-Punjab’s mission is drug-free Punjab and corruption-free governance,” said the Ludhiana legislator, who parted ways with the SAD in March 2014 when he contested the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat as an Independent.  “Punjab is in dire straits. Our focus will be to push for economic growth and development,” he said. The new front will be formally launched next week. “Details on the formation of the front were finalised in Delhi on Wednesday. I met Sidhu Sahib (Navjot Singh Sidhu) for the first time. With our views and ideology similar, it seemed I had known him for ages,” the MLA said.

Asked if rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, including its ousted Punjab convener chief Sucha Singh Chhotepur, would join the front, Bains’ replied: “Wait for a couple of days.”

He said the front would contest all 117 Assembly seats in the state. “Only those who are untainted will be allotted the party ticket.  Unlike AAP, there will be a stringent check on the credentials of the candidates,” he added.

BJP mum on awaaz-e-punjab

Jalandhar: BJP leaders, including party national general secretary Bhupinder Yadav and state chief Vijay Sampla, remained mum over Navjot Singh Sidhu launching a fourth front for the Assembly elections on Friday. Yadav also refused to comment on the attack on RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja last month and on BJP’s stand over Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh. Many other senior leaders, including party MLAs and state executive members, too, distanced themselves from the media present at the venue.

Pack of disgruntled politicians, says Badal

Chandigarh: Reacting to the formation of Awaaz-e-Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said in Muktsar district that the front was a pack of ‘disgruntled and opportunistic politicians’ without any ideological commitment. “Rather than being another front in the political arena, it will hardly have any impact on state polity,” said Badal. SAD general secretary and spokesperson Harcharan Singh Bains said the formation of the front symbolised confusion in opposition ranks caused by the success of SAD’s agenda of development, social welfare and governance. TNS

The more people in the fray, the merrier. It is for Punjabis to judge who can give them a stable government. — Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief

Sidhu has formed a front. It is up to him to comment whether he will launch a party or not. —Sanjay Singh, AAP state in-charge

When all others have betrayed Punjabis, the fourth front, like true saviours, will restore the state’s lost glory. —Prof Manjit Singh, Democratic Swaraj Party


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