Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat important for AAP: Bhagwant Mann : The Tribune India

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Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat important for AAP: Bhagwant Mann

CM says party unfazed by Rinku’s change of allegiance

Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat important for AAP: Bhagwant Mann

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann during a meeting with leaders in Jalandhar on Sunday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, April 7

Jalandhar is among the most important Lok Sabha seats in the state where the party will win at any cost, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann told party leaders during his visit to the district today.

The Chief Minister held a meeting with party MLAs and office-bearers in Jalandhar on Sunday and discussed election strategies with them. He made the stopover in Jalandhar before heading off to Khatkar Kalan to participate in a hunger strike by AAP in support of recently arrested Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

While the CM has been encouraging party workers and volunteers constantly during recent meetings, not losing heart over the arrest of the Delhi CM, he spent 40-50 minutes with party leaders discussing the Jalandhar seat. The Jalandhar seat is also beset by the setback caused by party’s Jalandhar MP and chosen candidate Sushil Rinku joining the BJP, and the CM asked workers not to pay attention saying the party will only increase its victory margin in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Mann said the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency used to be the stronghold of the Aam Aadmi Party. But now, Jalandhar has also been included with it. Both the seats are now very important for AAP and the party will have special focus on them, he said, adding that the party’s first priority should be to win the Jalandhar seat at any cost.

During the meeting, Mann asked party MLAs, leaders and office-bearers to tell people about the welfare schemes and decisions of the AAP government in the last two years.

Notably, while the BJP has a candidate in Rinku and the Congress and SAD also have an array of choices and front-runners for the seat, the AAP has been on the hunt for a leader who is strong enough to pull crowds in the vital Jalandhar seat. Amidst Rinku’s ouster, volunteers of the party have repeatedly asked the party leadership to opt for an insider during these elections and not to go for a ‘parachute candidate’.

A party insider said, “Contrary to feeling dejected on Rinku’s ouster or Kejriwal’s arrest, volunteers are angry and fired up. Their only condition is that a senior party leader and an insider is chosen for the seat and an outsider is not suddenly installed. If their considerations are addressed by the party, they believe AAP will have a fair shot at winning the seat.”

Notably, in the post-Rinku scenario, cabinet minister Balkar Singh and leader Chandan Grewal’s name are doing the rounds in Jalandhar. However, speculations abound that the party may hedge its bets on an outsider. A Congress MLA, a senior Congress leader and an Akali leader’s name were previously under consideration.

Meanwhile, the district unit of the Aam Aadmi Party in Jalandhar held a hunger strike in favour of the AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal.

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