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Nominating outsiders to Rajya Sabha first blow against Punjab and Punjabiat by AAP – SAD

Manpreet S Ayali says AAP has cheated Pbis by doling out Rajya Sabha seats to henchmen and businessmen)

(Asks AAP to tell if list was discussed with its Punjab unit. Says if not, CM Bhagwant S Mann owed an explanation to Punjabis as to why he did not oppose this move)

Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had struck the first blow against Punjab and Punjabiat by nominating rank outsiders to the Rajya Sabha and in the process betrayed the people of the State who had taken them to their word of bringing in sweeping positive change and given them a massive mandate to implement the same.

In a statement here, SAD legislative wing leader Manpreet Singh Ayali said “is this the ‘badlav’ the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was talking about? Far from a sweeping pro-Punjab and pro-Punjabiat change, AAP seems to have cheated Punjabis by doling out Rajya Sabha tickets to businessmen, something which it has earlier done in Delhi also. It has also given a ticket to a henchman besides rewarding a back room strategist. It has in this process ignored thousands of deserving party workers besides renowned Punjabis who were much more deserving of this honour”.

Asserting that AAP was treating Punjab as conquered territory and now doling out the spoils of war to its henchmen as well as those who bank rolled their campaign; Mr Ayali said it was shocking that AAP could not find one ‘panthic’ representative to send to the Rajya Sabha. “It is equally shocking that AAP has not nominated even one woman; forget nominating an equal share of women to the august house. Not one proponent of Punjabiyat or even a prominent social worker or someone with a proven track record of fighting for the rights of Punjab has been included in the list which smacks of nepotism and total disregard for the people of the State”.

The SAD leader said the apprehensions that AAP would be remote controlled from Delhi were slowly turning out to be true. “AAP makes grandiose announcements of practicing internal democracy. I refuse to believe AAP leaders and workers have given their stamp of approval to this list. The party should come clean and tell if the list was discussed with the party’s Punjab unit and its Co-Convener Bhagwant Mann. If not, chief minister Bhagwant Mann owes an explanation to Punjabis as to why he did not step in and oppose the move to ensure all nominations reflected the aspirations of Punjabis”.

Asserting that even AAP workers had been betrayed, Mr Ayali said it was shocking that the party did not find it worthwhile to nominate even one ‘aam aadmi’ to the Rajya Sabha and chose ‘khaas aadmi’ only. “This is a foreboding of things to come. If AAP can disrespect its workers and even the mandate given to it, how can core Punjab issues like that of river waters be sacrosanct?

The SAD legislative party leader, while making it clear that the SAD would always support any pro-Punjab initiative of the AAP government, said “we will not stand idle and let the interests of the State be robbed at any cost. AAP must now learn to respect Punjab and Punjabis. It should not try to profit from the mandate given to it at any cost”.