Facing criticism from within after taking in Sarwan Singh Phillaur, the rebel SAD MLA from Kartarpur facing an Enforcement Directorate (ED) enquiry in the drugs case, Punjab Congress chief and former CM Captain Amarinder Singh made it clear Saturday that former SAD MLA from Phillaur Avinash Chander was not joining Congress.
Local Congress leaders were upset following some reports saying Chander, who also faces probe in a drugs case, would join Congress on November 29 and could get ticket from Jalandhar.
On Saturday, Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted that “Avinash Chander is not joining Congress and all chatter on this topic is mere speculation”.
The tweet has come as a relief to Congress leaders in Jalandhar who were already upset following the entry of former Olympian Pargat Singh, who is a former SAD MLA from Jalandhar cantt, and Phillaur.
“When Avinash Chander was in SAD, our party attacked them for not shunting out such leaders who were facing probe in drug-related cases. Now, not accepting him (Chander) in the party is a welcome step of our Captain Amarinder Singh,” said Navteej Singh Cheema, Congress’s Chief Whip in Punjab Vidhan Sabha and MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi constituency.
Chander, who has been summoned by the ED office half-a-dozen-times in the drugs case, was denied a SAD ticket this time.
“How can anyone from other party come and join Congress just to get a ticket at the expense of those who have put years in the party,” said Gopal Krishan Sabharwal, a senior Congress leader and ticket aspirant from Kartarpur.
“If party ignores the Valmiki community here, we can take any radical decision,” said Sabharwal, a former judge who is from the same community.