Jalandhar West bypoll: Setback for AAP as Bhagat community leader to join Congress : The Tribune India

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Jalandhar West bypoll: Setback for AAP as Bhagat community leader to join Congress

Dr Mali to be formally inducted into the party

Jalandhar West bypoll: Setback for AAP as Bhagat community leader to join Congress


Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, June 22

Even as the AAP-led state government tried to woo the Bhagat community ahead of the Jalandhar West bypoll with its promise of setting up a Kabir Dham, the Congress plans to dent the same vote bank of the party by roping in a prominent Bhagat leader, Dr Shiv Dayal Mali.

The move comes less than three weeks ahead of the Jalandhar West bypoll. Congress Legislative Party leader Partap Bajwa, Jalandhar MP Charanjit S Channi and Nakodar halqa in-charge Dr Navjot Dahiya will formally induct him into the party.

Dr Mali, who is a skin specialist, took premature retirement from the State Health Department in 2015 as he was posted in the Civil Hospital here. At that time, he had joined the AAP and remained the district president of the party for three years. He was also the state spokesperson for AAP and a senior functionary of its SC wing in Punjab as well its intellectual wing.

A prominent SC leader, he was expecting to be fielded as the AAP candidate from the Jalandhar West (reserved) seat in 2017, but the ticket was instead given to Darshan Lal Bhagat then, who lost it.

Dr Mali had been reportedly given assurance for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll ticket, but that too did not come and the party instead chose Dr Zora Singh Mann. He had finally lodged a protest when the AAP gave ticket to Sheetal Angural from Jalandhar West in 2022.

Dr Mali had then joined the BJP. Now as Angural returned to the BJP, he chose to quit the saffron party too. A formal announcement was made by him two days ago. Dr Mali confirmed that he had decided to join the Congress tomorrow.

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