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Boost for Akalis: Two AAP leaders join SAD ahead of Shahkot bypoll

The leaders, who shifted loyalty, included Col CD Singh Kamboj (retd), who had twice fought assembly elections on Congress ticket from Shahkot, and HS Walia.

punjab Updated: May 21, 2018 12:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Press Trust of India, Jalandhar
Shahkot bypoll,Punjab,Sukhbir Badal
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal welcoming AAP leader HS Walia as he joined SAD, in Jalandhar on Sunday.(Pardeep Pandit/HT )

In yet another setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a week ahead of the Shahkot bypoll, two senior party leaders from the Doaba region Col CD Singh Kamboj (retd) and HS Walia joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the presence of party president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday.

Col Kamboj, who joined the AAP in 2015 after leaving Congress, had twice fought assembly elections on the Congress ticket from Shahkot. On both times, Kamboj lost to former MLA Ajit Singh Kohar, whose death necessitated the bypoll, to be held on May 28. Kamboj had also served Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as its president.

Sukhbir, accompanied by former minister Bikram Singh Majithia and other senior leaders from the SAD, welcomed the toe to the party at a function held in Nakodar.“When I was contesting as a Congress candidate, Ladi Sherowalia (Congress candidate for the Shahkot bypoll) openly used to support the SAD to ensure my defeat .After Ladi lost the 2017 elections, he started insulting my community members holding them responsible for his defeat,” Kamboj said, adding that he will ensure Laddi’s defeat.

HS Walia, a spokesperson of the AAP, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly election from Jalandhar Cantonment, said that he had joined the AAP with a view that it will bring a revolution. “However, I slowly realised that the party had become thoroughly corrupt and was concerned about Punjabis and their problems. Moreover, the AAP is run from Delhi by a dictatorial leader, who does not give weight to the local leadership” he said. Sukhbir Badal, while welcoming them into the SAD will strengthen the Doaba belt.Earlier, an AAP leader from Shahkot, Amarjit Singh Thind had joined the SAD after AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal tendered his apology to former SAD minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

Speaking on the occasion, Sukhbir demanded immediate arrest of those responsible for wilful discharge of industrial effluents from the sugar mill, which resulted in the death of thousands of fishes in the Beas.

“It was shocking that even days after the incident no action was initiated against the Sugar Mill, which is owned by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s religious adviser Paramjit Singh Sarna. Only fine is not enough, the Punjab government should immediately arrest the culprits,” he said.

He said this act had not only affected the environment or fishes but would play with the lives of lakhs of people on the Malwa region, which was already suffering from incidence of cancer due to the release of effluents into rivers.

Deploy high-powered EC task force : SAD

The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday demanded deployment of an Election Commission team to function as high-powered task force to stop the ruling Congress in Punjab from “widespread rigging’ in the Shahkot assembly bypoll scheduled for May 28.

“Mere appointment of an election observer will not suffice in view of the obvious nefarious designs of the ruling party which is hell bent on rigging the bypoll,” said Daljeet Singh Cheema, senior SAD vice-president in a communication to the chief election commissioner.

First Published: May 20, 2018 19:21 IST