AAP loses ground, Cheema group targets rebel MLAs
Chandigarh, September 23
The humiliating defeat of AAP in the rural elections notwithstanding, the Arvind Kejriwal-backed group of MLAs has won the “internal match” by getting more seats than the rebel group in their respective constituencies.
The party could not open its account in 20 zila parishads comprising 353 seats, while in 150 panchayat samitis (2,899 seats), it could win just 20 seats. The party, however, claimed that a number of victorious Independent candidates were AAP leaders and their list would be released soon.
Among official AAP candidates, six won in the constituencies represented by the Sukhpal Khaira group of MLAs and eight in the areas of pro-Kejriwal MLAs. Surprisingly, six AAP candidates won from seats ruled by the Congress. These are: Four in Bhucho Mandi and one each in Sangrur and Tarn Taran.
The Tarn Taran seat is the first victory of AAP in Majha in any election, claim party leaders. The party won 19 seats in Malwa and none in Doaba. Rebel MLA Nazar Singh Mansahia (Mansa) and pro-Kejirwal MLA Manjit Singh Bilaspur (Nihal Singh Wala) said the party could have won more seats had it been united.
“The people are inclined towards AAP. But infighting is costing us dear,” they said. AAP leader from Sultanpur Lodhi Sajjan Singh Cheema accused the Congress of misusing the official machinery by rejecting nomination papers of their 16 out of 17 candidates in his area on frivolous grounds. The Khaira group had boycotted the polls.