Jalandhar: In a jolt to the AAP, its two leaders HS Walia and CD Singh Kamboj on Sunday joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) along with their supporters ahead of the Shahkot Assembly bypoll scheduled to be held on 28 May. Both of them joined the SAD the presence of party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Welcoming Kamboj into the party fold, Badal said the senior leader was known for his statesmanlike conduct and strategic thinking, and with his joining, the SAD would be strengthened not only in Doaba belt, but also in entire Punjab. Kamboj had been the president of BSP's Punjab unit and had also contested elections twice from Shahkot on Congress ticket. He quit Congress and joined AAP in 2015 and was the party spokesperson, besides being the president of the Kamboj Mahasabha.
On the occasion, Kamboj said he joined the SAD to ensure the defeat of Congress' Hardev Singh Laadi in the Assembly bye-election. Detailing how Laadi had "insulted" the Kamboj community after his 2017 Assembly election loss, he said, "The community is very upset with him." "In fact, people with dubious reputation like Laadi are being rewarded with party tickets. This shows the moral bankruptcy of the Congress," Kamboj alleged. Earlier, AAP leader H S Walia, who had contested 2017 Assembly polls from Jalandhar Cantonment seat, also joined SAD.
Walia said he was joining the SAD due to its "pro-people" policies as well as the party's desire to take all sections of society with it. "I earlier joined AAP because it professed idealism. However I slowly realised that the party had become thoroughly corrupt and was not concerned about Punjabis and their problems. Moreover, AAP is being run from Delhi by Arvind Kejriwal who does not give any weightage to the local leadership," Walia alleged.
Welcoming Walia into the party fold, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the youth leader had made a name for himself in a short period of time and would be an asset for the SAD in Jalandhar district. Walia would be duly adjusted in the party organisation and would be given important duties, he was quoted as saying in a release.
The SAD president said the manner in which both the Congress and the AAP leaders were joining the SAD was indicative of the functioning of the Congress government as well as complete disillusionment with the Aam Aadmi Party. Badal said political leaders usually changed parties towards the fag end of any government's tenure, but presently leaders were "leaving the Congress in droves" because the party had "lost all appeal among the masses" after reneging on promises made to the people. Notably, on 17 May, senior Congress leader and former home minister Brij Bhupinder Singh Lalli had joined the SAD.
Updated Date: May 20, 2018 21:42:36 IST