Going for all 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leads the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) in the race to be third force with its secular credentials against both the Congress and the Akali-BJP combine in the state.
It holds the two banners (secularism and anti-corruption) that the PPP had raised in the 2012 assembly elections. Its issues in the state for the Lok Sabha battle are corruption, nepotism, drug menace, and the criminalising of politics, AAP's Punjab campaign committee chief Sumail Singh Sidhu has said.
"The candidate list is in the final stage of approval," said Sidhu, not denying that a few leaders from other parties were after the AAP ticket.
On Friday here, reacting to the support extended by Sikh hardliner Bhai Mohkam Singh, one-time accomplice of slain militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the AAP clarified that it was the prerogative of the radical groups to decide which party to support. "This is not going to make any adverse impact. We are going to announce our national policy document and state-specific issues as well," said Sidhu.
On Thursday, the AAP announced support from Dera Sacha Sauda openly, unlike the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress who would shy away from controversial spotlight. Besides Harvinder Singh Phoolka as official candidate for the Ludhiana seat now, the AAP has Dr Dharmeer Gandhi, Sumail Sidhu, and singer Rabbi Shergill as prospective contenders from Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar, respectively.
Sidhu, maternal grandson of former Naxalite writer Jaswant Kanwal, was once Student Federation of India (SFI) leader in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.