In a suave political move, Navjot Singh Sidhu had decided to float a new political party called Awaz-e-Punjab. In the introductory message the party calls for contesting on all 117 seats in the upcoming state election. Suspended SAD leader and former hockey Captain Pragat Singh has said to be instrumental in forming the new front. It is interesting to note that both Sidhu & Pragat were expected to join AAP.
The resignation of Sidhu from the Rajya Sabha was lauded as a tectonic shift in the political pitch of poll-bound state. The dramatic resignation left the ruling BJP red-faced on the very first day of crucial monsoon session. The situation was immediately encashed by AAP to divert the public attention from its manifesto-fiasco. The party univocally welcomed Sidhu’s decision and gave subtle hint of him joining the party. However, like an astute politician, Sidhu kept mum and left everyone else guessing.
It was wide clear from the beginning that the Sidhu was in talks with AAP. After the resignation, it was anticipated that Sidhu would join AAP very soon. But, the quick fire tweets by Arvind Kejriwal, after his meeting with Siddhu on 12th August, squarely put the question mark on the Sidhu’s inclusion in AAP. This left Sidhu with no option than to float his own party.
Sidhu was important for AAP’s scheme of things in Punjab. He is a likable Jat- Sikh with an exceptional oratory skill. His anti-badal credentials can never be questioned. He is perceived as a detached politician who had the audacity to take on the ruling dispensation even being part of the alliance. Given Kejriwal’s popularity on his side, he could easily take AAP home in the elections.
So why AAP lost Sidhu?
Sidhu and Kejriwal are similar characters. Both are risk takers, anti-establishment and crowd-pullers. They both love being in the limelight. Punjab is very important for Kejriwal for his national ambition but more than that he can’t afford to leave an inch of his hold from the party. Sidhu, by his own persona, can’t play the second fiddle to anyone. Here the negotiations hit a major road block.
Sidhu’s floating a new party will definitely give a serious jolt to AAP’s prospect. The recent sacking of AAP’s Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur has already taken a toll on the party and it is hanging for a split. The joining of Chhotepur in Awaaz-e-Punjab will further erode the vote banks of AAP.
It seems that the Aam Aadmi Party had peaked too early in Punjab. The Party has exhausted all its cards. Now, with the new political outfit in the foray, it also has to share the anti-incumbency votes. Do they have enough energy in tanks to stage a comeback? – It appears not.