AAP accuses BJP of ‘poaching’ MP, MLA in Punjab

Gourav Chandigarh/New Delhi:  AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Thursday alleged that  BJP has poached their party’s MP Sushil Kumar Rinku and MLA Sheetal Angural, and that “numerous MLAs in the state had been tempted with financial incentives to defect and align with the BJP with promises of Y+ security and positions”. Addressing a press conference here, Minister Bharadwaj questioned that if the BJP was experiencing such dire circumstances in Punjab, “why did it recruit our MP and MLA yesterday?”

“Our MLAs from Punjab informed us yesterday that numerous MLAs in the state were enticed with monetary offers to defect and join the BJP. They were promised Y+ security, positions, and even the opportunity to contest the Lok Sabha elections,” said Bharadwaj. The party’s lone MP in the Lok Sabha, Sushil Kumar Rinku (48), and MLA from Punjab Sheetal Angural joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.

“The proposition of party switching is not uncommon, but when it comes to Punjab, it’s beyond comprehension. Rinku’s tenure as MP has concluded, and with the Model Code of Conduct in effect, his options are limited to contesting elections,” said Bharadwaj. “If you seek an evaluation, it is evident that BJP will rank fourth in Jalandhar, Punjab,” claimed the Minister.

Bharadwaj also said that during a press briefing on Wednesday, three Punjab MLAs, namely Amandeep Singh, Rajinder Pal Kaur Chhina, and Jagdeep Kamboj, revealed that not only these three, but a significant number of our MLAs, received enticing phone calls urging them to defect to the BJP. “It seems that what Arvind Kejriwal had previously mentioned has materialised today — ‘Operation Lotus’ appears to have been orchestrated with the aim of destabilising AAP and undermining our governments in Delhi and Punjab,” he added.

Last week, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann held a closed-door meeting with Rinku to gather feedback about the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In the 2022 Assembly elections, the Congress had won in five out of the nine segments in the Jalandhar parliamentary seat, while the AAP bagged the remaining seats. The 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab will go to the polls on June 1.


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