The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has roped in two-time former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Mohan Singh Phalianwala as its Dalit face in Punjab, introducing him at a press conference here as “a promising leader of the state’s downtrodden class”.
In the 1992 and 1996 Lok Sabha elections, Phalianwala defeated former Punjab Congress president Santokh Singh Randhawa and another senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar, respectively, for the Ferozepur seat. On Wednesday, he joined the AAP with his supporters, saying he had high hopes from it after “the BSP has failed to keep up with the mission of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar after Kanshi Ram, being left with no leader to fight for casteless society and uplift of the deprived”.
He said he had assured the AAP’s central leadership to strengthen the party in Punjab. AAP’s leader in charge of Punjab affairs Sanjay Singh said Phalianwala was an honest and promising leader from the state. AAP state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Lok Sabha member Bhagwant Mann welcomed Phalianwala into the party.
‘Party against Manu’s code’
Asked whether the party would stand by Ambedkar’s ideology of equality for all castes as Phalianwala had claimed, Sanjay Singh said: “Indeed, that’s why we oppose ‘Manusmriti’ (widely studied ancient legal text among the many Vedic works of Hinduism that dictates laws for gender-based and caste-based communities).”