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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Will persuade Balkar Sidhu to withdraw candidature: Mann

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, August 04, 2014
First Published: 08:18 IST(4/8/2014) | Last Updated: 08:21 IST(4/8/2014)

A day after singer-turned-politician Balkar Sidhu filed his nomination papers as Independent candidate for the Talwandi Sabho assembly byelection after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cancelled his ticket, party MP from Sangrur Lok Sabha seat Bhagwant Mann said that he would do his best to ‘convince’ Sidhu to withdraw his candidature.

“Balkar is like my younger brother and I will do my best to convince him as his move to contest as Independent will benefit the SAD candidate”, said Mann, while talking to Hindustan Times.

Mann, who was called to Delhi by the party’s high command on Saturday evening for the protest rally there, said, “I am happy over Sidhu’s statement that he wants to win Talwandi Sabo byelection for Arvind Kejriwal, but I will talk to him that his move will harm the prospects of the AAP candidate.”

“He (Sidhu) is quite young and has long innings to play. First, he should come clean on allegations, then the party will definitely recognise his dedication as he has been one of the oldest members of the party in Punjab”, he added.

On a question about campaigning against Sidhu, who had openly campaigned for Bhagwant Mann in the Lok Sabha elections, Mann said, “Neither Talwandi Sabo nor Patiala are in my constituency, but I am a true soldier of the party and will do my duty with honesty.”

“No doubt, Balkar had campaigned for me but I will go by the party’s decision and campaign for AAP candidates as my fight is against corruption,” he said.

On whether he had facilitated the AAP ticket to Balkar, Mann said, “The decision was taken by the parliamentary affairs committee (PAC) of the party as they chose Sidhu among the three candidates.

But, now the PAC itself has decided to change the candidate. I did not play any role in selection or rejection of the candidate.”

On reports that the cancellation of Sidhu’s ticket has come as a jolt to Mann, he said, “The decision was taken by all senior leaders of the party, how come you can call it a jolt to me.”

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