Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu launched his recently announced political forum on Thursday, saying the Awaaz-e-Punjab was for the “resurrection and redemption” a state that is in dire straits.
“It’s time to speak the truth… There is a tradition in India that good people are kept as decoration pieces and used only for campaigning… Awaaz-e-Punjab is a revolutionary voice,” Sidhu said at a news conference in Chandigarh.
Sidhu has joined hands with three top voices against the state’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance -- former India hockey captain and suspended Akali MLA Pargat Singh and Ludhiana-based powerful independent state lawmakers and brothers Simarjeet and Balwinder Singh Bains.
The Awaaz-e-Punjab, or the voice of Punjab, will likely shake up the state’s political landscape so far dominated by the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance and the opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
On Thursday, the 52-year-old said: “Our war is with the system that ruined Punjab and Punjab cannot be saved by people with vested interests.”
There were speculations earlier that Sidhu and Pargat might join the AAP, which aims to end a decade of Akali-BJP rule in the state, but has been struggling with a crisis over the removal of its local convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur for alleged corruption.
The new forum is a surprise stroke from Sidhu and is seen as the culmination of his tense equation with the BJP, which he quit last month. He has been a three-time MP of the party from Amritsar.
Sidhu said on the Thursday he did not quit the Rajya Sabha to join the AAP.