The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday said here that it would not contest the elections to Punjab local bodies, since the timing coincided with the Delhi assembly polls.
It said the decision was based the overall opinion of its workers. "Our Punjab workers were occupied with the Delhi elections when the civil polls were notified in Punjab in a hush-hush manner after a year of delay," AAP state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur told HT.
Terming the election timing "a conspiracy of the Akali-BJP regime", he said the state election commission had started the nomination process on the voting day in Delhi, "knowing well that our strongest cadres were busy there".
"Since there is hardly any time to select candidates, and we have to ensure they are clean and honest, the AAP has decided not to contest the elections," said Chhotepur, accusing the Punjab government of making a mockery of the democratic set-up.
The AAP leader said that if the delimitation of wards and extending of municipal limits were required indeed, the commission should have done it in time. By suspending the local bodies for more than a year and putting these under administrators for the period, he said, the Punjab government had also violated the Constitution.
Silent on Dhuri
The AAP will contest the next assembly elections in Punjab, said state party convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, but didn't say if it would also fight the Dhuri byelection that the resignation of Congress legislator Arvind Khanna has forced.
Party's Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann had stated on Saturday that buoyant after the Delhi experience, the AAP would go for the assembly seat of Dhuri, which is in his Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency. Asked about the Dhuri bypoll, Chhotepur said: "Nothing is decided, so far."