Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dissident leader Bhai Baldeep Singh on Wednesday announced that he would contest as an as Independent candidate in Khadoor Sahib assembly bypoll expected to be held in February 2016. He claimed that he had held prolonged consultations with other ‘dissident leaders’ in the party and had also taken ‘Panthic’ (Sikh religious) forces into confidence before taking the decision.
“Khadoor Sahib bypoll is being perceived a prelude to full-scale political upheavals in the waiting during the 2017 state assembly elections,” said Bhai Baldeep at a press conference on Wednesday.
“AAP volunteers and cadre in Khadoor Sahib assembly segment do not want to keep the field open to the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and have thus extended their support to me,” he claimed, adding the election was critical to the entire state.
“Punjab stands at crossroads today and people are looking at alternative forms of politics,” he claimed.
Bhai Baldeep, who was suspended from AAP earlier this year, along with Lok Sabha members Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, said he had sent his reply to the show-cause suspension notice, but was yet to receive any response.
On queries on another AAP dissident leader Sumail Sindhu’s announcement of contesting the bypoll, Bhai Baldeep claimed that Sidhu’s decision was taken at an individual level ‘without consulting anyone amongst us’.
“It was after a lot of deliberations with ‘Panthic’ forces and with leaders from ‘Swaraj Lehar’ and other leaders who matter that I decided to take up the challenge to contest,” Bhai Baldeep said.
Swaraj Lehar backs him
‘Swaraj lehar’ Punjab convener professor Manjit Singh, who was also present at the press conference, said it was a set of people with a ‘common ideology’ who had appealed to Bhai Baldeep Singh to contest the bypoll.
“He stood third in the Khadoor Sahib Parliamentary constituency during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and thus has the momentum,” Manjit claimed.
Bhai Baldeep, who is a renowned Gurbani Sangeet exponent, used to run an academy on the art near the historical Sultanpur Lodhi fort. He claims to have been forced to move out the fort after he joined the AAP.
“The people of state are disgusted with the corrupt and lawless Badal regime and do not want to go back to the equally corrupt Congress regime,” he claimed.