Punjab polls: AAP candidate quits party, joins Congress
Chandigarh, Jan 17 (PTI) AAP’s Ferozepur Rural candidate Amandeep Ashu Banger on Monday quit the party and joined the ruling Congress in Punjab, alleging that Arvind Kejriwal’s outfit runs like a "multinational company" with only Delhi leaders calling the shots.
Welcoming Banger into the Congress fold, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi told reporters that the leader will contest the February 20 Assembly elections from the seat on the ruling party’s ticket.
He claimed that people are rejecting the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit.
"Their bubble has burst," said Channi.
After joining the Congress, Banger alleged that he felt humiliated and the state leaders have no say in the party.
He alleged that he was forced by the AAP leadership to spend money on electioneering to woo voters.
AAP functions like a "multinational company" and all leaders from Punjab have no voice in the outfit and leaders from Delhi "dictate terms" to them, he alleged.
"I was feeling stressed in this environment, which was also hindering the so-called development agenda and welfare of Punjab by the party," he added.
"Besides, (AAP senior leader) Raghav Chadha's behaviour is rude and has been directing AAP workers to follow his command without taking the Punjab leadership into confidence. They only need Yes men," Banger alleged.
He said he had earlier joined AAP as he was impressed by their ideology and thought they will bring some positive change, but reality turned just the opposite.
On AAP seeking people's feedback to pick up its CM's face, Banger said, "He will only be a dummy candidate while the party's Delhi leadership will call the shots." Channi said after finding out "anti-Punjab agenda" of the Aam Aadmi Party and realising that Kejriwal "only sells dreams", he quit the party.
Channi said Punjab needs such courageous people, who want to work for the betterment of the state and quit the party even when announced as party candidate.
He said Banger's example is not an isolated one.
"Earlier, many MLAs left them, saying they do not have faith in their leadership. Three of AAP's MPs had also left them earlier because of the dictatorial attitude they faced in the party," said Channi.
On the occasion, Channi accused AAP of targeting farmer leaders out of frustration.
AAP leaders have accused the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political front launched by various farmer bodies for fighting next month's Assembly polls, of approaching party workers and volunteers with various offers to be its candidates.
"Various allegations are being made against farmers now. There is great resentment among farmers and people of Punjab regarding this," Channi told reporters here while asking AAP to first look into the allegations of money being exchanged for party tickets.
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had recently trashed allegations that money was being exchanged for party tickets, saying this does not happen in his party.
"They are questioning the funding source from farmers but I seek an account of crores of rupees which NRIs gave them last time at the time of polls," said Channi.
Channi also described as "drama" the Aam Aadmi Party's move to seek people's suggestion on who should be its chief ministerial candidate for Punjab, saying people know Kejriwal's antics and said in a lighter vein that people are responding with his (Channi's) name in the AAP survey.
When asked if his party will declare its CM face before next month's Punjab polls and if he has raised this issue with the central leadership, Channi again replied in a lighter vein, telling the reporter, "Your question is very good. When I get an opportunity, I will ask Rahul Gandhi and let you know".
AAP leader Raghav Chadha had said earlier in the day that it will be only AAP which will go to the state Assembly polls with the chief ministerial face.
Chadha said none of the other political parties, including the ruling Congress, announced the name of their chief ministerial candidate.