Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state-in-charge, Manish Sisodia and the state co-president, Balbir Singh, announced the name of Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan as the party candidate for the Shahkot byelection even as Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, called for a organisational overhaul.
The announcement was made at a gathering of party MLAs and office bearers in Chandigarh Saturday which was attended by representatives of the party from all over Punjab. Party MP, Bhagwant Mann, who resigned as state president after Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to Bikram Majithia was conspicious by his absence. Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu was also not present as he was said to be travelling abroad on a personal visit.
Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan, 62, is the Doaba Zonal Secretary of the party and joined AAP in 2015. The party’s candidate in the 2017 assembly polls, Amarijit Singh Thind, has joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Addressing the gathering Leader of Opposition and Bholath MLA, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, cautioned the central leadership of the party that the past one year has been “wasted” as far as building up the organisational set up of the party in Punjab was concerned. “Had we put in some effort at the ground level, we could sent the Akalis packing to their homes and planted our flags in Shahkot,” he said. Khaira appealed to Sisodia to ensure that the office bearers of the party are appointed on merit and not on any other external considerations like favourtism. “Ground level workers get disappointed due to such actions. If we build up our organisation at the ground level we will definitely ensure our party’s victory in the 2022 Assembly elections,” he said.