BJP leader and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan officially joined the Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday. While Dhawan had claimed that he will be the AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate from the city, senior AAP leader from Delhi Durgesh Pathak who was present at his joining stated that the party will decide on the official candidate later.
The event was held at Dhawan’s residence in the presence of Punjab MP and AAP leader Bhagwant Singh Mann and various other AAP MLAs from Punjab in Sector 9. Many workers with AAP flags bearing the picture of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal gathered at Dhawan’s residence. The lane in front of his house was all choked with vehicles of workers parked wrongly.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline after the event got over, Durgesh Pathak said, “At the moment, Dhawan ji has just joined AAP. The party will later decide on the candidate from Chandigarh. The announcement will be made in January.”
Pathak while addressing the workers stated that the party’s position has become strong due to Dhawan’s joining. “I welcome him in the party. Party’s position has become strong in Chandigarh after having him. The election date will be out in April first week so we just have four months with us to prepare for it,” Pathak said.
He added, “AAP secured 1.08 lakh votes in the last elections which was around 80000-90000 less than the winning candidate. There may be around 3000 to 4000 people here in this event and I want that every day you all must connect with 10 to 15 people.” It was stated by him that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal will be holding a rally in January in Chandigarh.
Dhawan was an MP from Chandigarh constituency in 1989 from Janata Party and then served as Civil Aviation Minister in the Chandra Shekhar Cabinet. Dhawan has remained associated with various political parties such as Samajwadi Party, Indian National Lok Dal, Chandigarh Vikas Manch, Bahujan Samajwadi Party, Congress and was with the BJP for around eight years.
The Punjab AAP MLAs spoke one by one on the stage about Dhawan’s joining and how they want that people should “weed out the BJP and Congress” in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Dhawan during his address stated that he wanted to work for the people of Chandigarh and that is the reason he joined the Aam Aadmi Party. “I have remained in the BJP and Congress too and that is why I am well versed with their working — how they haven’t been able to carry out any development works for the city. As the name suggests, I am here for the Aam Aadmi and will work for him,” Dhawan said.
“Jab rajneeti shuru kari thi, tab mujhe sikhaya gaya tha ki jab satta mein ho to kalam ki taakat dikhate hue kaam karo or jab vipaksh mein ho to logon ki awaaz zor shor se uthao,” he added.
The leader said that the BJP had befooled people of Chandigarh as it had not been able to fulfil its promises made in the previous Lok Sabha elections. On Dhawan joining the Aam Aadmi Party, city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon said, “I think he carries the permanent tag of a defector- of a dal badlu which he has proved it today. It was our patience that we were able to retain him for eight years. The defection word in the dictionary should be replaced by Dhawan ji.”
Tandon said that the BJP had maintained distance from him because of his actions in the past. “Everytime Dhawan ji would embarrass the party — either by calling the Sinha duo (Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha) at his residence or not joining the programme of our national president in Sector 27 or giving a statement that party will win only five seats in MC elections. This made the party maintain a distance from him,” Tandon stated, adding that Dhawan has never worked in the BJP as a disciplined soldier.
AAP leader Bhagwant Mann stated that they were happy to have Dhawan in the party. Mann spoke more on the deteriorating situation of law and order in Punjab and took a dig at Congress and SAD in Punjab.
In the previous Lok Sabha polls in 2014, Gul Panag contested on AAP ticket from Chandigarh and came third, securing 1.08 lakh votes. She was defeated by BJP leader Kirron Kher, who is the present Member of Parliament.
Violation of traffic rules
Workers of Aam Aadmi Party flouted traffic rules with impunity. While approaching Dhawan’s residence, the workers on two-wheelers didn’t wear any helmets and jumped traffic lights. Due to chaos at the Kalagram light point, an ambulance also got stuck. However, the way was cleared later for the ambulance after the intervention of the traffic police.