Punjabi singer-actor Balkar Sidhu joined the Congress in the presence of state unit chief Capt Amarinder Singh here on Tuesday.
Sidhu was in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) earlier and, owing to his friendship with AAP MP Bhagwant Mann, had even got the ticket to fight the 2014 Talwandi Sabo assembly bypoll which was withdrawn later owing to some allegations of human trafficking against him. A section had even underlined some of his songs that glorified alcohol. He had later unsuccessfully contested as an Independent and remained unhappy with the way AAP had scrapped his ticket.
On Tuesday, he reiterated that he would “expose” the AAP. “AAP is no more the party of the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man),” he said at his joining.
At the event, Amarinder dubbed the AAP’s call for “revolution” as “anti-national”. Asked to explain how, he replied, “Inqilab (revolution) itself is a term against the country’s establishment... AAP keeps talking about Bhagat Singh’s revolution, which was actually against the prevailing regime of the country then, which was the British Raj. That type of ‘inqilab’ against the establishment now can lead to disintegration of the country.”
Sidhu, 42, is from Bathinda and has been a well-known singer and actor.
His joining comes a day after Deepinder Dhillon and Harry Mann returned to the Congress from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD); and weeks after Manpreet Badal merged his People’s Party of Punjab into the Congress.
Balkar’s candidature in 2014 had been cancelled by AAP after a woman journalist based in Toronto (Canada) reportedly shot off a letter to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that Sidhu had ruined a girl’s life in a human trafficking case. This case was also highlighted by the AAP’s NRI team, which is a major source of funding for the party.
Talking to HT after the cancellation of his candidature, Sidhu had said he had never sought the AAP ticket. “It was the party which approached me for contesting from Talwandi Sabo. I was told to send my profile to Delhi. Subsequently, my name was cleared. I was busy campaigning when I got to know that the AAP had changed the candidate.”
On the allegations of human trafficking, he had said, “There is nothing on record against me.”
The party had given the ticket instead to Baljinder Kaur, a lecturer who hails from Talwandi Sabo; she is now the AAP’s Punjab women’s wing head.