Four-time Bharatiya Janata Party MP Navjot Singh Sidhu launched a no-holds-barred attack on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday here, dubbing him “an insecure man” and his party “anarchy in the garb of democracy”.
Ending the almost two-month-long hide-and-seek game between him and the AAP, the cricketer-turned-politician trained his guns on the AAP chief while also lashing out at the BJP, the Congress, and the Badals. “Kejriwal tweeted about my meeting him. But it was only half the truth,” he said at a press conference here to formally launch his political forum Awaaz-e-Punjab.
“I asked him (Kejriwal) to define my role in the party. He said I should not contest elections, only campaign in Punjab, while my wife (Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu) will contest and be made a minister. I left immediately. Later, my wife asked me why is he so insecure? He prefers a one-time MLA to contest polls and not a four-time MP.”
Sidhu’s attack on the AAP comes when the rookie party is in a crisis after the sacking of its state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Kejriwal is in the state for four days to set the house in order.
‘Wait for 15 days’
Flanked by Olympian and rebel Akali legislator Pargat Singh and independent MLAs Bains brothers — Simarjeet and Balwinder — Sidhu reiterated that they were creating a new political body for the coming assembly elections. “For the time being, it is not a political party, only a forum of like-minded people.” Asked if he will launch a party and contest polls as its CM candidate, Sidhu told the media to wait for 15 days. “I have been campaigning for years. But to change the system, one has to be in the system,” he said, dropping a loaded hint. The new forum, a surprise stroke from Sidhu, comes barely five months before the high-stakes polls, which till now were a three-cornered contest between the Akali-BJP combine, the Congress, and the AAP. It is also seen as the culmination of his tense equation with the BJP after he resigned on his first day of the Rajya Sabha session on July 18.
‘Ask BJP if I am in or out’
“It is for the BJP to say if I am with them or not,” he said on his status in the party. He said the BJP had “used” him all these years like a “decoration piece” for rallies. “And when my work at rallies was done, I was not even invited to share the glory of their victories. It has become a tradition to use good, honest men as decoration pieces for campaigns. The AAP wanted the same,” he claimed.
He said he didn’t quit the Rajya Sabha because of the AAP. “I was offered the Rajya Sabha seat two years ago also when my Lok Sabha seat (Amritsar) was given to Arun Jaitley. But the condition was either I campaign for the Badals or stay away from Punjab, I cannot do either,” he said. “After I quit the Rajya Sabha, 30-40 Congressmen came to me to ask me to join them. But I refused.”
Giving the slogan ‘Punjab will win’, Sidhu said Awaaz-e-Punjab stands for the resurrection, redemption and revival of the state. “We call upon all good people sidelined by the system to join us. It takes only 10-15 selfless leaders to set an example,” he said.
Claiming good response to the forum, he said: “We will now see how to facilitate these good men. We want to shake the system. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared, and men of character are respected. We fall in the third category,” he said. The ex-MP said Punjab had not progressed under the Akali-BJP rule. “Only one family (Badals) has progressed. And Punjab is paying the price of its mafia raaj.”
‘AAP no different’
“We have seen the five-year rule of Captain (Amarinder Singh) and 10 years of dandatantar (rule of the stick) of the Badals. They ruined the state and are two sides of the same coin. They fight in public by the day and host each other at farmhouse parties in the evening. He (Amarinder) gave a clean chit to (revenue minister Bikram Singh) Majithia when a demand for the CBI probe was made,” he alleged.
He said he had thought AAP would be different. “But they are the same. Kejriwal thinks he has a copyright over honesty and wants only yes-men around him. No one but he takes the credit. Arrogance is rejected in democracy. People embrace those who are humble.”
Asked if the fourth front will divide the anti-incumbency vote and help the Akalis, Sidhu said Punjabis were not foolish. “They will not waste their vote.” “We are not against any party,” he said. “We are against the men who run them. Look what they have done to the parties of Master Tara Singh (SAD) and my hero Partap Singh Kairon (Congress).”
At this stage 'Awaaz e Punjab' is not a party, its a forum: Navjot Singh Sidhu— ANI (@ANI_news) September 8, 2016
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