Ex-Congress MLA Sushil Rinku joins AAP ahead of Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll


CHANDIGARH: Former Congress MLA Sushil Rinku Wednesday joined the Aam Aadmi Party in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in Jalandhar.

The polling for the Jalandhar parliamentary seat will take place on May 10 while the counting will be held on May 13. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary in January at the age of 76.

Rinku was the Congress MLA from Jalandhar West seat in the previous assembly. He was defeated by the AAP candidate Sheetal Angural during the 2022 state assembly polls.

After joining the AAP, Rinku said he was impressed by the policies of the party in the state. He said the AAP government in Delhi has also been doing impressive work for people’s welfare. ”My only motive to join the AAP is to serve the people of Punjab.” Meanwhile, the Congress expelled Rinku from the party for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.

When asked whether Rinku will be the AAP’s candidate for the upcoming bypoll, Mann said it is to be decided by the party. He further said the party is holding a survey in this regard. ”We will soon decide the candidate,” he told reporters in Phagwara near Jalandhar.

AAP supremo Kejriwal praised the Mann government for its decisions taken in the last one year, saying Punjab is now on the road of progress. ”I feel the people of Jalandhar will encourage us by ensuring victory with a big margin in the bypoll,” the Delhi chief minister said. ”We will win this seat with a good margin.” Santokh Singh Chaudhary had died after suffering a cardiac arrest during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jalandhar’s Phillaur So far, only the Congress has named the candidate. It has already announced Chaudhary’s wife Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary as its candidate.

The bypoll is going to be a litmus test for ruling AAP in the state, which will be eyeing a win after it lost the Sangrur LS byelection last year.

Prestige is also at stake for the main opposition Congress, which would like to retain the seat, while the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal, too, will look for a win to boost their morale ahead of next year’s general elections.

Lauding the Mann dispensation, Kejriwal said it has ensured free electricity to people, given employment to youths and is regularising those in contractual jobs. The previous state governments were of ‘raje-maharaje’ and particular ‘families’, Kejriwal said, apparently referring to Amarinder Singh and the Badal family.

”This is the first government in which the son of a teacher has became the chief minister of Punjab who knows the problems of the common man,” said Kejriwal.

Mann said his party will seek votes on the plank of development, employment, health, hospitals and infrastructure. ”We do not play politics of vendetta and hatred. Our party does not fight polls with the use of muscle power and money to win.” To a question on an SIT report on alleged nexus between police and drug traffickers, Mann said strict action will be taken against those who have been named in these reports.

Asked if the government will make names written in the reports public, he said it is confidential. ”When action takes place, you will come to know of it.” CM Mann on Tuesday had said his government would soon initiate action based on three reports pertaining to an alleged nexus between certain police officials and drug traffickers in the state.

Mann’s statement had come days after the Punjab and Haryana High court opened three out of four sealed cover reports regarding the role of police officials in the drug trade in Punjab.


Source: Press Trust of India

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