In a dramatic twist, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday said that his new front, Awaaz-e-Punjab will not contest the upcoming Punjab Assembly polls.
Stressing that the political front was a forum launched for the betterment of Punjab and not a political party, Sidhu said he was willing to enter an alliance to serve the people of Punjab but was not willing to divide votes.
Ever since his announcement of the new front on September 8, Sidhu was being seen as a major contender and someone who could spoil the party for other political parties especially the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which started off on the right foot in the state but of late has lost some steam.
Earlier, Sidhu had clearly said that his new political front will contest all 117 assembly seats in the elections to be held early next year to ensure that "people in Punjab and Punjabiat won".
Along with the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, former Indian hockey team captain Pargat Singh, a legislator of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, and two independent legislators, Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains, too joined the front.
Pargat Singh was last month suspended from the Akali Dal for "anti-party" activities.
Sidhu had resigned from the Rajya Sabha on July 18, fuelling speculation that he may join the AAP.
The Bains brothers, who had fallen out with the Akali Dal top leadership three years ago, have significant influence in Ludhiana district.