The Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) Bathinda Urban candidate Deepak Bansal on Tuesday blamed the party’s senior leadership cozying up to the Sikh radicals for his debacle in the assembly polls here, stating that the “Hindu community of Bathinda drifted away from teh AAP for this reason only”.
“I will raise this issue at the party forum,” Deepak told HT. “I personally feel that AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Sikh radical Balwant Singh Nandgarh and Sikh preacher Panthpreet Singh and the party icon’s stay at the residence of a reportedly former militant in Moga was encashed by both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
It may be recalled here that Panthpreet’s associate Jagdev Singh Kamalu successfully got the AAP ticket to clinch the Maur assembly seat.
Deepak on Sunday night held a 3-hour-long poll review meeting of his party cadres here, saying that the booth-wise review had also revealed that the votes in slum areas were “bought over”.
“The distribution of cash and ration were the two modes that came to the fore for buying the votes of the poor,” he said.
The AAP had fielded Deepak as a fresh face, considering the nearly 40% Hindu vote bank in the Bathinda urban assembly constituency in the face of anti-incumbency against the SAD’s erstwhile sitting MLA Swaroop Chand Singla.
The Congress’s dark horse Manpreet Badal, who defeated Deepak by 18,480 votes, had carefully given impetus to his poll campaign, even performing a ‘havan’ at the inauguration of his party office here.
Unlike Bathinda Urban, the AAP has wrested the peasantry class-dominated Bathinda- rural, Maur and Talwandi Sabo assembly segments. The Bhuccho and Rampura Phul in the district went to the Congress.
AAP’s Jagdev Singh Kamalu defeated teh SAD’s Janmeja Singh Sekhon by 14,677 votes in Maur, where the Hindu trader community of Maur Mandi town polled for the AAP to oust Sekhon.
The AAP’s Baljinder had a cake walk, defeating Congress’s Khushbaaz Singh Jatana by 19,293 votes, while Ruby in Bathinda- rural defeated SAD’s Amit Rattan Kotfatta by 10,778 votes.