Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia appointed AAP’s Punjab in-charge
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday made senior leader and Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in-charge of Punjab where the party is fast losing ground.
“After assessment of prevailing political situation in the state of Punjab, the political affairs committee has appointed senior party leader Manish Sisodia as Prabhari (in-charge) of Punjab,” said a statement by the AAP.
Handing over the responsibly to party’s senior most leader, after party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, is seen as an effort by Delhi’s ruling party to set its house in order in Punjab where despite being the main opposition in assembly, it could win just one ward (in Bholath) out of 149 it contested in the municipal polls, the results of which were declared on Sunday.
Results of the civic polls showed that the party had even lost its ground in areas where its candidates won with huge margins in the March assembly elections. It had won 20 seats in the 117-member house to emerge as the main opposition party.
The AAP was without any proper observer in Punjab since Sanjay Singh resigned in April after the party failed to come to power in the state.
For its below expected performance in assembly elections, many state leaders had accused the party’s central leadership of interfering in Punjab affairs.
“After assembly elections, it was alleged that Delhi leadership was interfering in local unit’s affairs and it was cited as a reason for the party’s poor showing in the polls ,” said a party leader who did not want to be named.
“Following the allegations it was decided that the central leadership would keep away from Punjab. The candidate selection and campaign strategy was handled by local leaders. But after poor performance in Gurdaspur bypolls and the recent civic polls, we felt the need for setting the house in order. So we have chosen one of the senior most leaders for the task,” he added.
The AAP nominee Major General (retired) Suresh Khajuria came third in the Lok Sabha bypoll.
The northern state is important for the AAP as it was the only state where it could open its account in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning four seats.
The party, in its maiden foray in the civic polls in Uttar Pradesh, won 42 seats, including two posts of chairman, in the result announced on December 1 while six independent candidates later joined the party fold.
In the Gujarat assembly polls, the results of which were announced on Monday, the party’s 27 candidates could manage even lesser accumulated votes than NOTA votes.