Assembly bypolls: AAP bets on fresh faces
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday fielded four party volunteers for the October 21 byelections to Dakha, Jalalabad, Phagwara and Mukerian assembly segments in the state.
AAP state unit president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann announced the names of Amandeep Singh Mohi and Mohinder Singh Kachura from Dakha and Jalalabad segments, respectively. Gurdhyan Singh Multani, who is also halqa (constituency) in-charge, has been named from Mukerian seat whereas Santosh Kumar Gogi has been given the party ticket from Phagwara reserved constituency.
The names of candidates, all fresh faces, were announced by Mann in a press conference in Chandigarh after a meeting of the state core committee of the party. He was accompanied by core committee chairman Budh Ram, leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, Aman Kumar, Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, Rupinder Kaur Ruby and Manjit Singh Bilaspur.
Mann said all four candidates were volunteers and had been associated with the party for long. “Their names were sent to the political affairs committee (PAC) in Delhi following a discussion at the meeting and have been approved,” he said.
In 2017, the AAP won Dakha and stood second in Jalalabad. AAP’s Harvinder Singh Phoolka had won Dakha seat by 4,169 votes, but resigned from the membership of the state assembly last year. In Jalalabad, Mann took on SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and polled 56,771 votes.
But the AAP has been plagued by ceaseless infighting and fast losing support. It got just 2% of the votes polled in these four constituencies, including Dakha, the seat it won by getting 40% votes just two-and-a-half years ago. Mann said the party would focus on all four assembly seats and constituted three-member teams comprising MLAs and other leaders in each one of them.
“The AAP will go to the people on the clean chit given by the Amarinder Singh government to the Badals in the sacrilege case, unemployment, non-fulfilment of promises and other issues,” he said, adding, “We will tell them that they have seen the Congress rule for two-and-a-half years and time has come to give them a jolt”.
On being asked whether the disgruntled MLAs would also campaign for the party, the AAP state president said that barring Sukhpal Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu, other rebels were in touch with the party leaders. “We will talk to them,” he said.
‘NO DIFFERENCES WITH PARTY LEADERS’
Sunam MLA Aman Kumar Arora, who was upset over the functioning of the state unit and had been skipping party meetings, said he had no differences with the state party leaders, but only a difference of opinion.
“During the recent Lok Sabha elections, the party’s support base had shrunk from 36 lakh votes to 10 lakh and its vote percentage came down from 25% to 7%. I have been saying for the past four months that we need to do introspection,” he said. Mann said there was internal democracy in the party. “We will consider his suggestion,” he added.
Amandeep Singh Mohi (32)
A diploma holder in electronics, he is the district youth wing president of the party in Ludhiana and halqa in-charge of Dakha.
Mohinder Singh Kachura (34)
AAP youth wing’s state vice-president, he is in-charge of the constituency. He did MSc in food science and technology.
Gurdhyan Singh Multani (55)
A party volunteer for more than three years, he is currently teaching in schools in Tanda and Mukerian. He served as lecturer in college earlier.
Santosh Kumar Gogi (41)
An RTI activist, he has been an active worker of the party. He has studied till Class 12.