Awaaz-e-Punjab (AEP), the political front led by former cricketer-turned-parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu, wants the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to spell out its chief ministerial candidate for Punjab before it will commit to an alliance, AEP sources told Hindustan Times on Thursday.
Talks between the two parties on a probable alliance in Punjab for the 2017 assembly elections have hit a road block with both sides unable to agree on the terms of engagement.
“AAP offered Navjot the post of deputy chief minister but we need to know first whose deputy is he going to be? You decide on a CM face and then on the deputy CM. Not the other way round,” an AEP leader told HT.
AAP leaders however remain non-committal on the CM face and whether they will announce one at all.
“We will take the decision at the right time, not because AEP wants us to announce it,” a senior leader connected with the party’s Punjab affairs said.
The AEP also wants Arvind Kejriwal and his team to “lay bare the blue print on how AAP will resolve Punjab’s debt crisis and other problems.”
Punjab has the second-highest debt to gross state domestic product ratio in the country and is in the midst of an agrarian crisis.
“AAP is focusing on winning the election in Punjab whereas we want to know what the government will deliver after the elections,” the AEP leader said.
The two sides have also failed to agree on seat sharing. While AAP has offered five seats to all AEP members — Navjot Sidhu, his wife Navjot Kaur, Balwinder Bains, Simarjeet Bains and Pargat Singh — AEP wants to field more candidates and has asked for nearly 30 seats.
AEP leaders contend that four of them won seats in the last assembly election while Sidhu is a three-time Lok Sabha winner. “They are going to use Navjot Sidhu’s name on all 117 seats, then why would AEP contest on just five seats,” a source close to Sidhu said.