Kangra member of parliament Rajan Sushant on Saturday joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi.
One of the founder members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh, Sushant had resigned from the party more than a month ago, accusing former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his parliamentarian son Anurag Thakur of “patronising corruption in the state”.
He joined the AAP after a meeting with Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh at party headquarters Kaushambhi in Delhi. He had recently met AAP leaders in Palampur to discuss the matter.
“My only dream is a corruption-free India. I parted ways with the party I founded as corruption is ruling the roost there,” alleged Sushant, while talking to HT over the telephone from Delhi.
“I joined AAP because it is the only party committed to eliminating corruption and fighting the evil. AAP and Arvind Kejriwal have raised hope among common people,” Sushant said. Parrying a question over his contesting the general elections on AAP ticket, Sushant said he was returning to the state in three days, and would start campaigning to strengthen the party.
“I am ready for any role assigned to me by the party high command,” said Sushant.
Sushant fell out with Dhumal soon after he was elected to the lower house of the parliament in 2009. Sushant made waves by launching a scathing campaign against his party leaders, particularly Dhumal, alleging corruption.
The matter had its genesis much before, when in spite of being a senior legislator, he was not given a ministerial berth in the Dhumal-led government that came into power in 2007.
In a damage-control exercise, the party fielded him from the Kangra parliamentary constituency. After being elected to the Lok Sabha, Sushant strived for the party ticket for his wife Sudha from Jawali constituency, but was denied one. It marked the beginning of fresh trouble for the BJP.
After giving him a long rope for several months, the party finally took action against Sushant and removed him from the BJP state executive in May, 2011, for passing “embarrassing” remarks against the Dhumal regime.
Sushant has been MLA four times, and a cabinet minister in the Dhumal-led government in 1998.
Now speculations are rife that the AAP will field him from the Kangra parliamentary seat, making the ride bumpy for BJP candidate and his one-time mentor Shanta Kumar.
Sushant has a considerable base in parts of Kangra and will eat into the BJP's vote bank.
BJP state president Satpal Satti pointed out that Sushant was already suspended from the party.
“We know it would happen. I am happy that AAP has got another Kejriwal. You just wait and watch what happens next,” quipped Satti, adding that Sushant's joining the AAP would not affect the BJP's prospects in Kangra in the general elections.