In a boost to the Aam Aadmi Party’s plan to strengthen its base in Jammu and Kashmir, a former state minister, an ex-MLA and a former Congress leader joined the party in New Delhi on Friday.
Along with them, more than hundred local leaders including village heads, block development council (BDC) members and district development council (DDC) members also joined the party.
They were officially inducted into the AAP by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Environment Minister Gopal Rai in the presence of Durgesh Pathak, in-charge of party’s political affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, and other leaders at the party headquarters.
Former Jammu and Kashmir minister Yash Paul Kundal, ex-legislator Balwant Singh Mankotia, DDC member Taranjit Singh Tony and former Congress leader Surinder Singh Shingari were among the prominent faces who joined the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.
Mr Tony had defeated former BJP minister Sham Lal Choudhary in the DDC election in Suchetgarh constituency in 2020.
The joining of these leaders was seen as a shot in the arms of the AAP with the party working with an increased focus to expand its base in Jammu and Kashmir, with an eye on the assembly elections expected to be held in the Union territory after completion of the ongoing delimitation exercise.
According to sources, Mr Kejriwal is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir soon.
“By joining the Aam Aadmi Party in such a large number, you have sent out a message of ‘inquilab’ (revolution) to the central government. You have announced that Jammu and Kashmir wants change,” senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said while addressing the newly inducted leaders from the Union territory.
He asked the AAP’s state unit leaders including those newly inducted to start work to expand the party’s base across Jammu and Kashmir “in such a way that we bring ‘inquilab’ in Jammu and Kashmir as well.” Rai said a large number of people from various states are joining the AAP as “a new fragrance” has spread across the country after formation of the AAP’s government in Punjab.
“You all strengthen the party. And, I promise you on behalf of AAP national convenor Kejriwal that the work, being done in Delhi (by AAP government), will be done in Jammu and Kashmir as well,” Mr Rai said.