The Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular victory within the Delhi meeting election has infused new life into its fractured get together organisation in Punjab. Not solely is it now trying to win again rebels but additionally wooing cricketer-turned-Congress politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
With meeting elections in Punjab simply two years away, the problem for AAP is to reinvigorate the faction-ridden state unit and overcome the belief deficit with the folks. Sidhu, state AAP leaders really feel, cannot solely be the rallying power but additionally rope in smaller political entities, reminiscent of Simarjit Singh Bains’s Lok Insaaf Party.
Sidhu, although, is protecting his playing cards near his chest, and didn’t reply to messages and calls from INDIA TODAY. The Congress MLA from Amritsar East resigned from the Punjab cupboard final July amid heightened tensions with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. He has been protecting a low profile ever since. In November 2019, Sidhu attended the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, however not as a part of the Punjab authorities delegation. He didn’t marketing campaign for the Congress within the Delhi election both.
AAP leaders in Punjab declare Prashant Kishor, who strategised their get together’s Delhi marketing campaign, had a phrase with Sidhu. If negotiations do make any headway, a serious ache level shall be Sidhu’s insistence on being projected because the chief ministerial candidate and being given a free hand to choose candidates. AAP nationwide convenor Arvind Kejriwal may even should think about Sidhu’s penchant for courting controversies. There’s excessive recall of his controversial journey to Pakistan for prime minister Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in 2018, when he was seen hugging Pakistan military chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his unsavoury remarks on India’s air strikes in Balakot in 2019.
A key occasion that would form the course of the Punjab meeting ballot would be the elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) subsequent yr. While the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has managed the SGPC for over three a long time, the get together misplaced a bit of the panthic vote for its unconvincing stand on incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015.
AAP has attracted a number of Sikh politicians with an SGPC background prior to now six years. Rebel Akali factions, together with SAD (Taksali), are eyeing an alliance with these leaders for the SGPC ballot. A defeat for the SAD within the SGPC will not directly profit AAP. Sidhu has clear feelers from SAD (Taksali). Sidhu is welcome to affix us, however his being incommunicado doesn’t assist, says Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, the Rajya Sabha MP who has joined forces with the outfit.
This isn’t AAP’s first try and woo Sidhu. After quitting the BJP in 2016, Sidhu had held inconclusive parleys with Kejriwal. On Kishor’s suggestion, he met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka and joined the Congress forward of the 2017 Punjab election.
Outside Delhi, AAP has presence solely within the Punjab meeting. The get together’s lone Lok Sabha MP, Bhagwant Singh Mann, represents Sangrur within the state. In the earlier meeting ballot, AAP captured 20 seats and a 23.eight per cent vote share. Subsequently, MLAs Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Baldev Singh stop to launch the Punjab Ekta Dal whereas Amarjit Singh Sandhoa and Nazar Singh Manshahia joined the Congress. Advocate-turned-politician H.S. Phoolka resigned from his seat and MLA Kanwar Sandhu stays suspended from the get together. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, AAP polled 7.6 per cent votes in Punjab and 12 of its candidates misplaced their deposits. Should he be part of, Sidhu could possibly be the booster shot AAP wants in Punjab. But, for now, he’s protecting everybody guessing.