While Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal was releasing farmers’ manifesto in Moga, disgruntled AAP workers were gathering at Sahnewal in Ludhiana to protest against him and his associates on Sunday.
At a rally that volunteers christened as “self-respect rally”, expelled AAP leader and Punjabi singer Jassi Jasraj was the key speaker while suspended AAP member and Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi was the chief guest.
Jasraj had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 parliamentary elections on AAP ticket from Bathinda constituency.
The volunteers said the tickets announced by AAP in 15 seats so far have been given to favourites and not deserving candidates, and in many seats, they alleged, money exchanged hands for tickets.
They said they have launched their rally from Sahnewal, where AAP’s youth wing president Harjot Bains is AAP candidate, and will visit all 15 constituencies where candidates have been announced.
Two volunteers, Ajay Panesar and Jagbir Jaggi, who joined AAP in 2014 and hail from Sahnewal, claimed they were the deserving candidates from Sahnewal.
Jassi said, “Harjot Bains’s house is in Atam Nagar and he should have contested against Independent MLA Simarjit Bains or against minister Bikram Majithia. Why is he looking for a safe seat? He has taken away the seat of hardworking volunteers.”
Jasraj said, “I have been expelled from the party for six years. We know tickets were sold in many constituencies. A number of SAD and Congress leaders who switched to AAP were given tickets and founder members of AAP were ignored. We will go to all constituencies and lodge protest.”
Patiala MP Dr Gandhi said protests of volunteers were just the beginning of a longer struggle.
“The party is forgetting its ideals and a large number of volunteers were being suspended without giving them any valid reason. Kejriwal has often said in his speeches that if his candidates are not up to the mark, masses have the right to defeat them and I think the same will be done this time in many seats,” he said.
The volunteers also said the ticket of Sunam has been awarded to an undeserving person. Aman Arora, who recently switched from Congress, has been fielded from the constituency.
In Ferozepur Rural, too, where former BSP MP Mohan Singh Falianwala is the candidate, AAP leaders have been ignored, they added.
They said Gurpreet Bhatti, who joined the party four months ago, was given the ticket from Amloh while Dev Mann, who has no achievement to his credit as yet, is in the fray for AAP from Nabha. Jasraj said, “The first rally is a warm-up and thousands of volunteers came from Sahnewal alone. One can imagine the strength of protesters in other 14 constituencies.”