IANS /New Delhi
Days after the Aam Aadmi Party announced the list of candidates for the February 8 Delhi assembly elections and dropped 15 sitting MLAs, legislators have started quitting the party.
One of the senior leaders was Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, who joined the Congress party.
Shastri, the grandson of late prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, had won the seat with 59.08% votes in 2015.
He along with a large number of followers joined the Congress in the presence Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra and senior leader P C Chacko. Welcoming him, Chopra said it was home-coming for Shastri whose roots were in the Congress.
Speaking to the media, Shastri accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of flouting all democratic norms to “sell” tickets for the February 8 assembly polls for Rs10-20 crore.
Slamming Kejriwal for belittling AAP legislators, Shastri said, “When I left a high-paying job with Apple Inc to join the AAP I thought an honest man would herald clean politics. But my experiences in the five years have taught me otherwise.”
The Dwarka MLA alleged “huge corruption” in the AAP ticket distribution for the municipal corporation elections and said Kejriwal would be best remembered for spreading corruption in politics.
He said Kejriwal always refrained from commenting on important issues and his “stony silence” on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), violence against students at the Jamia Millia Islamia and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was baffling.
Another leader who quit the AAP was Hari Nagar MLA Jagdeep Singh. He, however, has not revealed his next move.
Singh told IANS he would reveal plans soon.
Singh who had been using Kejriwal’s image as his profile picture on his official Twitter profile, changed it yesterday.
Sitting AAP MLA from Badarpur N D Sharma on Tuesday had said on Tuesday that he had resigned from the party and accused Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of taking Rs20 crore for giving the election tickets to a ‘land mafia’, after he was not re-nominated.
Sharma has joined the Bahujan Samaj Party and will contest on its ticket, he told IANS.
Ram Singh Netaji, a former Congressman and a two-time MLA from Badarpur who joined the AAP on Monday, has replaced Sharma.
According to sources, AAP MLA from Delhi Cantonment, Surinder Singh, is also planning to switch.
However, the former soldier has said he was still with the AAP.
“I haven’t quit the AAP yet. I am yet to take a decision,” he told IANS.
Haji Ishraq, MLA from Seelampur, who was replaced by Abdul Rehman, accused Kejriwal of being “unhappy” as he asked him to support Muslims protesting against the new citizenship law.
He too said he was taking his time and consulting people on his next move.
“I am still considering my options,” Ishraq told IANS.
Meanwhile, the Congress yesterday released a list of 54 candidates, saying it has focused on fresh faces to take on the ruling AAP.
The prominent faces in the first list included Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran, Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka, Rajesh Lilotia from Mangolpuri, Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhinagar, Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk, Krishna Tirath from Patel Nagar, Mateen Ahmed from Seelampur, A K Walia from Krishna Nagar, Poonam Azad from Sangam Vihar and Abhishek Dutt from Kasturba Nagar.
However, the party is yet to announce candidate for the New Delhi seat to take on Kejriwal.
The Congress is expected to soon announce 12 more candidates, leaving four seats for the Rashtriya Janata Dal, an alliance partner.
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