In a major setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Speaker of the last Delhi Assembly MS Dhir joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday.
When asked why he decided to join the saffron party against whom he had contested the 2013 assembly elections, Dhir said he felt cheated after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal resigned as the chief minister after just 49 days in power.
HT had reported on November 15 that Dhir was likely to join the BJP. “I have always believed that AAP would tackle the issue of corruption but despite getting an opportunity, our chief minister chose to resign. A leader should not get emotional as he has to look after the people who voted for him,” said Dhir.
According to sources a number of other leaders from Congress and AAP are likely to join the BJP in the coming few days. Apart from the Speaker, tennis player Rohit Rajpal also joined the party. The constitution mandates that a Speaker of the House demits duty only after a new Speaker takes over.
“We welcome all those who want to join the BJP and work for the people of Delhi. But whoever wants to join us from other parties will have to come without any expectations,” said Prabhat Jha, organisation in-charge of Delhi BJP.
Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said that Dhir understands the grievances of the Sikh community better and will prove to be an asset to the organisation.
Dhir, in turn, said he was impressed with the work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The entire world is impressed by the development model of Modiji. I believe the country will progress a lot under his leadership. Before joining AAP last year, I was a member of BJP, so for me it’s a homecoming,” said Dhir.
Dhir, who represented south Delhi’s Jangpura constituency in the 70-member house, claimed there are a number of AAP leaders and workers who would soon leave the party. He also accused Kejriwal of not consulting party members before taking any decision and said there was no democracy within the party. “I believe Delhiites felt cheated after Kejriwal’s resignation. Along with me, a number of workers from AAP are also going to join the BJP soon.”
When asked if he will contest from the Jangpura seat, he said: “The party will decide whether they want to give me a ticket or not as I just want to serve the people.”