Within four days of announcing Rajesh Padam as its candidate from Jalandhar parliamentary (reserve) seat, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has cancelled the candidature as he is mired into a controversy of "being a Congressman".
AAP had apparently played the caste card while announcing Padam's name on March 28 as he belongs to Valmiki community which has a sizeable chunk of votes in this constituency.
After the announcement, the district Congress had claimed that Padam is still holding the position of vice-chairman of the party's SC Cell and had not resigned.
A section of AAP workers had also started opposing the candidature of Padam, who has been a Congressman for a long time, which was finalised after rejecting several other credible names screened by the party.
When contacted, Padam said that he has himself withdrawn from the contest "due to family problems". He strongly refuted suggestions that he had to step aside due to severe criticism against him within the party rank and file.
Rajinder Beri, president, District Congress Committee (urban), said "We have sent a notice to Rajesh Padam for joining AAP without informing the Congress".
He said that Padam had claimed that he has tendered his resignation to the Congress but "we have not received any such thing from him side".
Beri further said that Padam still holds the vice-chairman's post in the SC Cell of the Congress in district.
Harjot Singh Bains, AAP's state convenor, said that it is upon the high command to decide on this issue and the top leadership of the party is very much aware about the controversy.
Bains claimed that senior AAP leaders are keeping a vigil on the developments in the constituency after the announcement of Padam's candidature.
AAP spokesperson Manjit Singh said that during the party's screening before his selection, Padam had claimed that he had resigned from the Congress.
On the rousing discontent over Padam's candidature within the party, Singh admitted that AAP's base in the region is still weak and the party would take time to strengthen it as the odds are against it at present.
On Sunday, the local party workers held a meeting at its office where angry workers had taken strong exception to Padam's candidature despite his holding a Congress post.
The activists had also pointed out that Padam was neither a primary member of the party nor had he made any great contribution to the society unlike other candidates of AAP in various constituencies.