Former legislator Sucha Singh Chhotepur on Saturday decided not to support any candidate in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll while appealing to people to vote according to their “voice of conscience”. Chhotepur had formed the Aapna Punjab Party (APP) after he was sacked from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on charges of corruption last year.
The leader claimed that representatives of all major political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, had met him to seek his support in the bypoll which is on October 11. “I appeal to voters (of the Gurdaspur parliamentary seat) that your vote is precious as it decides the destiny of the society and you should vote as per your voice of conscience,” Chhotepur said while addressing the media in Chandigarh.
He said the decision to not support candidates of any party was taken after deliberation with his party’s workers. Chhotepur’s APP is not contesting the bypoll. “People from all parties met me as anybody can come to seek votes. But, whenever a representative from the Congress or the BJP met me, reports appeared in the media that I will be supporting this or that party. However, the fact is, there was no truth in such reports,” said Chhotepur, who hails from Chhotepur village in Gurdaspur district.
The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll was necessitated following the death of BJP MP and actor Vinod Khanna in April this year. The Congress has fielded senior leader Sunil Jakhar while the BJP’s candidate is businessman Swarn Salaria for the bypoll.
The AAP has fielded a Major General (retd) Suresh Khajuria. The APP leader was elected MLA from Gurdaspur district, once as a SAD candidate and the other time as an Independent. He had also contested on an AAP ticket from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 and polled 1.76 lakh votes. However, he got only 1,740 votes as an APP nominee from the Gurdaspur seat in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.