New Delhi: In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), two of its MLAs quit the party after they were denied ticket for the 8 February Delhi Assembly election with one of them joining the Congress on Saturday.
An AAP leader said the resignations of Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri and Hari Nagar MLA Jagdeep Singh was "unfortunate but expected". While Shastri joined the Congress on Saturday, Singh said he was in talks with the Shiromani Akali Dal, an ally of the BJP.
Shastri, who was among the 15 members of the outgoing Assembly not fielded by the AAP this time, alleged that the party was "selling" tickets and accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of acting in an autocratic manner.
Shastri alleged that the AAP pretended to be an honest party and "made bus tickets free for women but are charging Rs 10 crore for an Assembly seat ticket".
Countering Shastri's allegations, another AAP leader said that when tickets are denied, people make such claims. "Does that mean when he previously contested from the AAP, he bought the ticket? The ticket distribution was strictly made on the basis of the performance of the MLAs which was closely scrutinised. All those MLAs whose performance was found to be not up to the mark were dropped," he said.
In the Dwarka seat, the AAP replaced Shastri, the grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, by Vinay Kumar Mishra, Congress leader Mahabal Mishra's son who joined the party from Congress just a day before the candidates' list was released.
Singh was replaced by former Congress councillor Rajkumari Dhillon who had joined the party with Mishra.
Singh said he was disappointed with the party for denying him a ticket and nominating Dhillon. "Even during the Lok Sabha election, I raised my objection over alliance with the Congress and now they have brought in five people from Congress who are directly or indirectly associated with (anti-Sikh riots convict) Sajjan Kumar," he said.
Earlier, AAP's Badarpur MLA ND Sharma, who quit the party earlier this month protesting against induction of Congress leaders into the party fold, had alleged that the party was selling tickets.
Sharma, too, was dropped and AAP fielded Ram Singh Netaji, who joined the party from Congress, from the Badarpur seat. According to sources, Sharma is in talks to join the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Shastri also said that he was upset with the party as it had not talked about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC which triggered nation-wide protests. "I told him (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal) you are the only CM who had not talked about CAA and NRC. He did not even go to meet the students at JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia," he said.
"I left a high ranked post in a MNC where I earned in crores, under attraction of Kejriwal's talks of honesty and Janlokpal. But, I am disillusioned now with AAP and Kejriwal's dishonest politics," Shastri alleged in a press conference.
Kejriwal had earlier said he hoped that the party MLAs who were dropped would not leave the "Aam Aadmi party family". Responding to a question that other parties might try to poach the sitting legislators, the AAP national convenor said that he hopes they will stay with the party. "All parties will try it. But they (sitting MLAs) are our family. I hope they will remain with us," Kejriwal told reporters.
Senior party leader Sanjay Singh said the party is looking to give important responsibilities to all those MLAs who have been dropped.
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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2020 12:37:18 IST