Convicts enter AAP in ‘goof-up’, Arvind Kejriwal apologises to their victim

The AAP took Bant Singh Jhabbar under its fold along with Navdeep Singh alias Appi and his close aide Harvinder Honey, who were convicted for assault on him.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Published: December 28, 2016 4:56 am
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann receives Bant Singh Jhabbar at UT guest house in Chandigarh  where Arvind Kejriwal stayed on Tuesday and held meetings with party leaders. Sahil Walia AAP MP Bhagwant Mann receives Bant Singh Jhabbar at UT guest house in Chandigarh where Arvind Kejriwal stayed on Tuesday and held meetings with party leaders. Sahil Walia

Two days after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) goofed up by taking Bant Singh Jhabbar, a victim of murderous assault whose both arms and a leg were amputated subsequently, into the party fold along with the convicts in the case, AAP’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal apologised to him personally and pulled up state leaders in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

Jhabbar was specially brought to Chandigarh on Tuesday to meet Kejriwal, who spent the day in the UT guest house, a day prior to his big rally in Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency. Kejriwal met zonal in-charges and other party leaders to review the campaign.

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On Sunday, Jhabbar, considered the dalit voice of CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation in Punjab, had joined AAP in Mansa in the presence of party general secretary in-charge Sanjay Singh. Shockingly, the party also took under its fold Navdeep Singh alias Appi and his close aide Harvinder Honey, who were convicted for assault on Jhabbar, whose minor daughter was gangraped way back in 2006. The two were sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and were out on bail pending an appeal by them in the High Court since 2010.

“I am touched. Kejriwal ji was gracious enough to apologise to me in a meeting where Sanjay Singh was also present. He told me the party did not waste any time and threw them out of the party the moment they realised their mistake. It was a mistake at the local level. The Delhi leadership could not be blamed. Seeing the humility of this party’s leadership, I have decided I will work for AAP till my last breath,” said Jhabbar after the meeting.

Sources said AAP’s Mansa candidate Nazar Singh Manshahia was instrumental in getting them in the party fold. A party source said Kejriwal was miffed at the blunder amidst demands that action should be taken against the party candidate. He is learnt to have asked Sanjay Singh to be careful in future before inducting people and check their background. Sanjay Singh is then learnt to have conveyed it to Manshahia about Kejriwal’s displeasure. Sanjay Singh was not available for comments.

Jhabbar’s story had hit headlines in 2006 when he was beaten up mercilessly for fighting for justice for his daughter, who was gangraped by a group of village youths who were later convicted. To avenge the conviction of friends, four youths had assaulted Jhabbar and his arms and a leg were crushed. These were to be amputated. The CPI (ML) L had campaigned for a compensation for Jhabbar, who was rendered helpless in fending for himself and his eight children. Kejriwal, it is learnt, also met 13 zonal in-charges and other senior leaders one-on-one and took reports of performance of candidates.

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