In yet another jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, its leader Joginder Chinna on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing AAP’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann of converting the party into a “private company”. Chinna had contested the Punjab assembly polls from Dinanagar on the AAP ticket.
However, Mann said some leaders leaving the party will not impact the AAP candidate’s prospects in the bypoll.
Chinna, who along with his supporters took the BJP’s membership in the presence of the party’s national vice-president Prabhat Jha and state secretary Punjab Vineet Joshi, accused the AAP of straying from its ideals.
“In order to defeat the Congress in Gurdaspur bypoll, I and my colleagues have decided to join the BJP and ensure Swaran Salaria’s (BJP candidate) victory from the seat,” Chinna said.
The other AAP members who joined the BJP include Dinanagar market committee’s former chairman Tarsem Singh Malkachak, AAP’s block president Pratap Singh Jethuwal, party’s district general secretary Balwinder Singh Dalia, district organising secretary Shivjinder Singh Dala, district secretary Kala Singh Sahewal, said a BJP release.
“The move indicates Salaria’s victory is inevitable in Gurdaspur,” Jha said.
On Saturday, AAP leader Kulbhushan Singh, who had contested the 2017 assembly elections from the Sujanpur seat, and party’s general secretary, Lakhvir Singh, had joined the Congress, along with their supporters, in the presence of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Pathankot.
The AAP Punjab chief, however, refused to acknowledge that the switchover by its leaders and workers to other political outfits was a “setback” to the party as claimed by the BJP and Congress.
“It was good that those who were greedy for some posts and not following the party’s ideology left on their own. They were complete misfit in the party’s structure,” Mann said, adding it is the organisation which is supreme.
The Sangrur MP also rubbished Chinna’s allegations that Mann has transformed the AAP into a “private company”. “These are baseless allegations,” he said. He said party candidate Major General Suresh Khajuria (retd) was an honest man and he had served the country for several years.
The bypoll, which was necessitated after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April, will be held on October 11.
(With PTI inputs)