Chandigarh, September 2: Time for all good men to join hands to serve the people, by joining yet another front to be known as Awaz-e-Punjab that would be formally launched tentatively on September 8. This is how Akali Dal’s estranged MLA from Jalandhar Cantt Pargat Singh articulates the idea behind the new initiative in which he is joined by cricketer-turned-politician and three time MP Navjot Singh Sidhu and independent MLA from Ludhiana Simarjit Singh Bains. Pargat is former Olympian who captained the Indian hockey team and knows how to confront the adversary. The rules are no different in political arena.
The punch-line in the poster uploaded on the social media by this new group today is: “Our fight is against the forces that have ruined Punjab”.
The idea originated with Pargat and Navjot. “Good people must come forward to save Punjab”, said Pargat while confirming the development that has created tremors in the political arena of the state within days of Aam Aadmi Party suspending its state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur who would make the new beginning after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple on September 3.
Navjot Singh Sidhu had recently given a big surprise to his mother party- the Bharatiya Janata Party- when he met Rajya Sabha chairman to tender his resignation that he jotted down there only. He had just been nominated to the Upper House to placate him. He had been denied ticket from Amritsar in Lok Sabha elections to pave way for Arun jaitley who faced humiliating defeat at the hands of Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress. Navjot had refused to contest from any other seat. Jaitley had been persuaded by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to contest from Amritsar. He wanted Navjot to be eased out.
However, the popular mood in Amritsar about three months before the election was that Navjot could win for the fourth time provided he contested as independent. After the denial of ticket, he stayed away from the election. His differences with the dominant ruling group had emerged on the issue of development projects that he wanted to be carried out in the holy city. His wife and BJP MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu had to sit on dharna on the same issue despite being the Chief parliamentary Secretary.
Pargat has been aggressively fighting the case of the people of his constituency.
Ludhiana MLA brothers Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains who are part of the front too have the reputation of being fighters.
This is one aspect of the situation. The front has to be seen in the broader context of the churning in the political matrix of Punjab. Challenging the Akali Dal-BJP combine would now be the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party, the party to be launched by Chhotepur, Awaz-e-Punjab, the front to be launched by Patiala MP Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi and Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa. More would not be merrier.
Some of the leaders in the opposition space would have to shed their ego to provide to the people an aggressive and effective fighting machine to bring about a change. So many groups might create confusion in the minds of those who are determined to usher Punjab in a new era.
AAP is sliding down each passing day. Party’s only face left in Punjab Bhagwant Mann entered into avoidable confrontation with the media persons yesterday at Bassi Pathana. He accused the media people of being paid instruments of the ruling party. Battered and bruised over the recent developments in his party, Mann overlooked the fact that the media in Punjab has been supportive of AAP unlike in Delhi. Now the Chandigarh Press Club, Jalandhar Press Club and Patiala Press Club have announced boycott of Mann. Media persons have decided to show him black flags.
Both Pargat and Navjot are good intentioned people but pragmatic politics needs something more to evolve an effective alternative. Going by the volatile nature of the Punjab political discourse, making long term assessment can have the tendency to go wrong. This happened with outside leaders of AAP who started with the premise that none could stop the party from decimating Akali Dal-BJP combine and the Congress. The problem was their lack of understanding of the nature of Punjab political dynamics.
September would be crucial with new permutations and combinations and outfits emerging on the scene. Understanding on the basis of a programme could be the basis for alliance or seat adjustment among the effective groups as that would facilitate people in making clear choice.