Ahead of the 2017 Punjab assembly elections, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday appointed former Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar as the party’s state unit chief. He said his unconditional support to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will continue so as to rid Punjab of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government.
The Trinamool also said it plans to forge an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the Punjab assembly polls.
Brar, who was expelled from the Congress in April, is a former member of Parliament (MP) and a former Congress working committee member. “Brar has been fighting for the cause of the people of Punjab for several years. He will continue to fight against corruption and the drug menace in the state,” Trinamool Congress vice-president Mukul Roy said in Delhi.
On the likely alliance, “it is too early to say anything. But we do have a great rapport with the AAP; both want to fulfil people’s wish to get rid of the current SAD-BJP alliance government in the state,” said Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed.
In the wake of the Congress defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Brar had suggested that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi go on a sabbatical so as to introspect on the worst ever performance of the Congress. He was looking to join the AAP later, but managed to forge an alliance with it through a forum he had floated after months of issuing statements in praise of AAP boss Arvind Kejriwal.
Now, he said his decision to join the Trinamool was in due consultation with the AAP. “My decision to join the Trinamool is part of a larger initiative to form a national alternative and was done after due consultation with the AAP,” Brar said.
“Our efforts along with the AAP to rid Punjab of the (Parkash Singh) Badal scourge will continue. There is no scope for difference here,” Brar said. “Our support for the AAP will continue unchanged and unconditionally under the leadership of (West Bengal chief minister) Mamata Banerjee,” he said. “In fact, Kejriwal and Mamta Banerjee have a consensus on taking on the Modi regime, and the TMC’s presence in Punjab would strengthen this move of the AAP,” Brar told HT on phone.
Brar has been addressing rallies of the AAP in Punjab for over a month now, stressing that he was extending his support to Kejriwal’s ideology of clean politics without joining th hat party. On Wednesday he got an “appointment letter as in-charge of the TMC’s Punjab unit” from Mamata in Delhi following a close-door meeting between the two.
“I and Mamata Banerjee have been old colleagues of our Congress days, and since then I am constant touch with her,” Brar said. (with inputs from IANS, New Delhi)