Senior Congress leader and four-time MLA Parlad Singh Sawhney Sunday joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the presence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the party headquarters, fuelling rumours about him or his son contesting assembly polls, scheduled early next year, from the Chandni Chowk constituency.
Speaking at the AAP headquarters, Sawhney (68), a close aide of former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, said he joined the party after considering the work it has done in the capital. He added that “he is not keeping any expectation of getting an election ticket”.
He said, “Everywhere I go in my area, people jump up and say Kejriwal has reduced electricity charges and made water free of cost (up to a certain limit).”
“We now don’t have to tell people who to vote for, they say they will vote for Kejriwal.”
Sawhney was MLA from Chandni Chowk from 1998 to 2015. He lost to AAP candidate Alka Lamba in the 2015 assembly polls. With Lamba falling out of favour with AAP and returning to Congress last month, the Chandni Chowk seat is up for grabs, a senior party official said. The seat has been a Congress stronghold.
Between 1998 and 2015, Congress’s Sawhney won the seat four times while BJP and AAP have won it once each.
Sawhney said he believes the AAP would win the upcoming election with a larger vote share than in 2015, when it won 67 out of 70 seats. Kejriwal said he was “very happy” that Sawhney and his team of ward members were joining AAP, and that this would further support their initiatives.
The CM added that three lakh CCTV cameras and two lakh street lights will be installed in the capital within six months.
He said that 1,000 mohalla clinics are being built in the city: “Because of the work done by the AAP, many people in other political parties are looking to join us. I appeal to all the good people in the country, whichever party they are in, that the opportunity has now come to join AAP.”
Lamba, who returned to her parent party after a bitter falling out with AAP leaders, is being considered for the candidacy by Congress, sources said.