Pargat Singh on Tuesday received, and declined, a fresh proposal from Ludhiana-based Bains brothers to join their Insaaf Party and contest as its joint candidate in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Balwinder and Simarjeet Bains had on Sunday split the former BJP Navjot Singh Sidhu-led Awaaz-e-Punjab group, of which Pargat is a part, to go with the AAP.
Pargat said, “In Aawaz-e-Punjab, it was decided to take decisions collectively; but the Bains brothers decided to take a different path. If I would have to go alone, I could have joined any party three months ago.”
The former Indian hockey captain said he would take the next step after a meeting with Sidhu on Wednesday. Sources in the Congress, meanwhile, told HT that he is set to join the party and the induction would be done by the end of this month.
The offer was to contest from his current seat, Jalandhar Cantonment, which he had won a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ticket. “I declined the offer citing my personal stand. For my entire life, I have been known for my stand, and this time too I won’t let anybody raise a finger at me,” Pargat said, adding that he has “full respect” for the brothers. “But once the trust is gone, there is no point in partnership. I am not such a hardcore politician.”
The Bains brothers involved some NRI friends of the former Indian hockey captain to leave Sidhu and his wife alone in the Awaaz-e-Punjab and join them instead.
AAP leader Gupreet Bhatti, who remained instrumental in getting the Bains brothers onboard, told HT that the brothers were in consultations with Pargat on Tuesday. An AAP ticket contender from the seat also said, on the condition of anonymity, that party leaders had sent feelers to aspirants that Pargat may be adjusted here, as part of a five-seat deal with the Bains brothers.