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Action-packed Thursday in poll-bound Punjab

punjab Updated: Sep 08, 2016 11:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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All eyes are on Navjot Singh Sidhu and Arvind Kejriwal (HT Photo)

Poll-bound Punjab will see an action-packed day on Thursday with a few straight drives, rasping shots and even a googly expected on the political turf by parties desperate to attract the attention of the voters.

All eyes are on cricketer-turned-politician and former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Navjot Singh who will pad up for a new political inning by formally announcing the fourth front - Awaaz-e-Punjab or Voice of Punjab - ahead of the high-stake assembly elections in the border state.

Must read | Sidhu floats new party in Punjab, breakaway AAP group likely to join hands

Sidhu’s opening partner is Pargat Singh, former Indian hockey skipper and a sitting MLA, who recently rebelled against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

Sidhu’s political stroke is set to queer the pitch in Punjab polls and turn it into a multi-cornered contest – a break from the traditional two-horse race. Sidhu and Pargat are expected to take stinging swipes at the ruling Badal family during a press conference in Chandigarh.

In Ludhiana, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal will hit the road for a four-day trip to Punjab to set the party’s house in order. His visit comes at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party is reeling under a string of controversies and a vertical split in its state unit.

Also read | A house for Mr Kejriwal in Punjab: AAP shortlists a base for chief

The breakaway AAP faction led by sacked state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur is likely to join hands with Sidhu. A day before his trip, Kejriwal sent out a tough message by removing six rebel zone coordinators in Punjab.

Thursday will also mark the beginning of the last assembly session of the five-year rule of the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine. The opposition Congress is bracing to put the government on the mat on a host of issues that will also resonate in the high-decibel poll campaign in the weeks to come.

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The Congress plans to deliver a googly by seeking a bill on debt waiver for farmers to embarrass the Akalis who draw their major support from the farmers. The session is set to be a stormy affair as the ruling alliance will pull out all stops to score the brownie points.