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Jolt to AAP as its Ferozepur Rural candidate jumps ship to Cong

Welcoming Banger into the Congress, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi told reporters that the leader will contest the February 20 Assembly elections from the seat on the ruling party's ticket.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 18, 2022 5:19:56 am
punjab state elections 2022 aapArvind Kejriwal with AAP leader Bhagwant Mann. (PTI Photo)

The AAP’s Ferozepur Rural candidate Amandeep Ashu Banger Monday resigned from the party and joined the ruling Congress in Punjab, alleging that Arvind Kejriwal’s outfit runs like a “multinational company” with only Delhi leaders calling the shots.

Welcoming Banger into the Congress, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi told reporters that the leader will contest the February 20 Assembly elections from the seat on the ruling party’s ticket.

He claimed that people are rejecting the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit. “Their bubble has burst,” said Channi.

Banger resigned from AAP while accusing party functionaries of forcing him to spend exorbitant amounts of money on poll campaign. He also accused state co-incharge Raghav Chadha, an MLA from Delhi, of running a one-man show in Punjab ignoring local leaders. He also expressed annoyance over the allegations being levelled by senior AAP leaders against Samyukt Samaj Morcha and calling its leaders stooges of BJP.

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After joining the Congress, Banger alleged that AAP functions like a “multinational company” and all leaders from Punjab have no voice in the outfit. “I was feeling stressed in this environment, which was also hindering the so-called development agenda and welfare of Punjab by the party,” he added.

He said he had earlier joined AAP as he was impressed by their ideology and thought they will bring some positive change, but reality turned just the opposite.

Leader of Opposition Harpal Cheema, however, alleged that Banger was running a hospital in Moga, which was involved in many scams and therefore “his arm has been twisted by the Congress” to make him join the party. Cheema claimed that this fact about Ashu’s hospital was not known to AAP when ticket was awarded to him. He also alleged that many other AAP candidates were being enticed by the Congress in the state.

Out of the total 117 cosntituencies, AAP has announced candidates for 112. The party will now have to look for an acceptable face for the Ferozepur Rural segment where Banger had been very active.

Chadha, addressing a press conference in Mohali, said he was still gathering facts about the Banger’s resignation. He said that every party asks its candidates to put up posters, banners, wall paintings as part of poll campaign.

“We have information that some senior leader from Congress was in touch with him. There is a conspiracy to hurt AAP. We will soon expose the conspiracy and bring out all facts before you,” said Chadha.

Meanwhile, Channi said after finding out “anti-Punjab agenda” of the AAP and realising that Kejriwal “only sells dreams”, Banger quit the party. Channi said Punjab needs such courageous people, who want to work for the betterment of the state and quit an outfit even when announced as party candidate.

He said Banger’s example is not an isolated one. “Earlier, many MLAs left them, saying they do not have faith in their leadership. Three of AAP’s MPs had also left them earlier because of the dictatorial attitude they faced in the party,” said Channi.

On the occasion, Channi accused AAP of targeting farmer leaders out of frustration.

“Various allegations are being made against farmers now. There is great resentment among farmers and people of Punjab regarding this,” Channi told reporters here while asking AAP to first look into the allegations of money being exchanged for party tickets.

“They are questioning the funding source from farmers but I seek an account of crores of rupees which NRIs gave them last time at the time of polls,” said Channi.

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