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Before MC polls, Chandigarh Congress workers shift loyalties in droves, join AAP

After Congress leaders Chander Mukhi Sharma and Pardeep Chhabra hopped over to the AAP, several more rebel Congress members followed suit.

A surge of Congress workers and members having switched allegiance to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the past few weeks have started whisper campaigns in political circles that the AAP was slowly turning into the ‘second Congress’ in Chandigarh.

The defections, which come before the municipal polls scheduled to be held later this year, has started to hit the AAP’s credibility and image of being a strong third option to challenge both the BJP and the Congress.

After Congress leaders Chander Mukhi Sharma and Pardeep Chhabra hopped over to the AAP, several more rebel Congress members followed suit. More than 200 Congress workers have joined the AAP in the last month alone, thereby setting off rumours that the AAP had turned into the B-party of the Congress.

Sources said that under the present circumstances, the AAP was likely to pose much more of a challenge to the Congress during the upcoming municipal elections than the BJP did and hence the defections.

“The Congress already was quite weak with lots of infighting among various groups. And now the AAP has become that party which rebel Congress members can join when they are disgruntled. This is good, as the AAP will now only eat into the share of votes that would have otherwise gone to the Congress. The BJP will gain from this as their vote bank is intact,” a BJP leader said, requesting anonymity.

The BJP, unlike the Congress and its infighting, has so far managed to put up a credible threat to the other parties and is hoping to improve its vote tally during the civic body polls.

Disgruntled Chhabra joined AAP after grudge with the Congress

Pardeep Chhabra had joined the Aam Aadmi Party last month after openly expressing his resentment with the Congress, where he said he was upset with the organization of the committees made. Chhabra also had had a fall out with present Chandigarh Congress chief Subhash Chawla.

On August 13, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, had welcomed Pardeep Chhabra into the the party’s fold.

Chhabra’s shift to another party was expected after his spat with Congress leaders, wherein he accused them of sidelining him. He was upset for not being included in any of the committees constituted on recommendation of Chawla.

After Chhabra’s shift, two other Congress leaders followed him to the Aam Aadmi Party.

Chhabra, while quitting the Congress, had minced no words in stating that his services were not being valued. After days of infighting, Chhabra finally quit the party on August 6. Congress insiders said that Chhabra was upset ever since he was removed from the presidentship of the Chandigarh unit of the party and the post was given to Chawla. Chhabra, a loyalist of Congress leader and former Member of Parliament, Pawan Kumar Bansal, had written a terse resignation letter in which he blamed the party for having sidelined him after 35 years of service, starting as a member of the NSUI in Chandigarh.

Interestingly, before Chhabra’s shift to the AAP, another Congress leader Chander Mukhi Sharma, too who had joined Arvind Kejriwal’s party after hurling similar allegations. Mukhi, a former Congress councillor, was also upset with the Congress for having sidelined him and for not valuing his opinions. He joined the AAP with all his supporters on September 29, 2020 and was immediately made the party’s in-charge for the upcoming municipality elections.

Most Chhabra loyalists follow him to the AAP

When Chhabra left, he took along with him most of his supporters and loyalists to the AAP.

The leaders who joined the AAP after Chhabra’s resignation last month are former Congress general secretary Sandeep Bhardwaj, secretary Mushak Ali and Praveen Dugal Vishu, joint secretary, Kuldeep Kumar, vice-president, Rakesh Soni, SC wing vice-president, Kanwaljit Singh Sidhu, DCC general secretary, Jagdeep Mahajan, vice-president Dinesh Sharma, chairman RTI Cell, Gagandeep Singh Ahluwalia, DCC vice-president, Beant Singh and Surinder Singh, former secretary, Harwinder Goldy, block president, Harjinder Bawa and Mohinder Rajbhar, treasurer Gurdeep Singh, general secretary, Ram Krishan, Brij Mohan Meena, Sukhbir Singh Sukhi, Vishal Kumar Sherry, Sonu Kumar, Sanjay Arora, Kanika Khatri, Jasbir Singh, Vikramjit Singh , Rohit Kumar, Sarika Kanojia, Virender Pal Singh, Mohinder, Krishan Lal, Davinder Kumar, Rakesh Gill and Sanjeev Arora.

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