Jalandhar, February 9
Former Akali leader Avinash Chander today joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and senior BJP leaders in Jalandhar. A prominent and influential Dalit leader of Doaba, Chander mentioned the agenda of “upliftment of Dalits” as the prime reason for his embracing the BJP.
The two-time MLA won the Kartarpur and Phillaur seats in 2007 and 2012, respectively. Following his name figuring in a high-profile ED probe and the Akali Dal cold-shouldering him, Chander resigned from the SAD in 2016. He had been keeping distance from active politics ever since.
In 2014, the BJP pressured the former ally, SAD, to oust Chander when his name figured in an ED probe during the ongoing synthetic drug racket case. However, today Shekhawat along with senior BJP leaders warmly welcomed him into the party.
Speaking on the Bhola drug case, Chander said: “The guilty have been caught and those who had to be punished have been punished in the case.”
Close to Dera Sachkhand Ballan
- Avinash Chander is the grandson of Dalit icon Seth Kishan Das, a close associate of Dr BR Ambedkar. When Dr Amebdkar visited Jalandhar in 1951, he stayed at Das’ house
- Chander is close to Dera Sachkhand Ballan and wields influence in several seats, especially Kartarpur and Phillaur. He’s also well known in Jalandhar’s Dalit hub Boota Mandi
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