The suspense is over. Navjot Singh Sidhu is not joining the Aam Aadmi Party or the Congress. He will lead a new political party in Punjab, where assembly elections will be held early next year.
The cricketer-turned-politician will announce details on Thursday, September 8.
His wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, offered a glimpse in a bright poster she shared on Facebook that reads “Awaz-e-Punjab” or Voice of Punjab. It features Mr Sidhu dressed all in black and flanked by former hockey great and his close friend Pargat Singh and two independent lawmakers, brothers from Ludhiana, Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains.
Pargat Singh, who shared the poster on Facebook too, is on his way out of Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal.
Simarjit Bains told NDTV that Navjot Singh Sidhu will be the presumptive chief minister of the new party. “We are in talks with all like-minded people to form a non-Akali, non-Congress and Non-AAP political front,” he said.
Among those they have contacted is Sucha Singh Chhotepur, recently sacked by the Aam Aadmi Party as its Punjab chief, and who is reportedly prepping to launch his own party.
“I don’t even know if its the fourth front. I just know these are four good people who want to work for Punjab,” said Mrs Sidhu, who is a BJP lawmaker in the Punjab Assembly.
She is expected to follow her husband out of the party and said, “It’s been clear for a long time. After my term ends, I won’t continue under them if the BJP-SAD alliance continues.”
Mr Sidhu had walked out of the BJP in July and was in talks for weeks to join Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which fancies its chance at winning Punjab. Those talks reportedly floundered over Mr Sidhu’s demand that he be projected as the party’s candidate for chief minister.
“They have formed an outfit, not a political party. Even if they form a political party the direct impact will be on the Badals not AAP. New outfit may use the support they get as a bargaining tactic with us,” said AAP sources.
A Congress invitation to Mr Sidhu was a non-starter, with Mrs Sidhu publicly nixing Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh’s offer to the couple to join.
Senior Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar said the new Sidhu party would hit the Aam Aadmi Party hardest. “This is the political space Kejriwal’s party was hoping to occupy, but the new front will take over the niche space AAP was vying for,” he said, adding that the Congress “will lose nothing.”