In a late night blow to the AAP on Friday, its Himachal Pradesh unit chairman Anoop Kesari joined the BJP in the presence of Union minister Anurag Thakur and party leader JP Nadda. Separately, AAP Secretary General (Organization) Satish Thakur and its Chairman Una Iqbal Singh also pledged allegiance to the BJP on this occasion at Nadda’s residence in the nation’s capital. Taking to Twitter, Thakur, who is said to have played a central role in these inductions, claimed that the aforementioned leaders took this step against the anti-Himachal Pradesh policies of the party led by Arvind Kejriwal.
Anurag Thakur said, “AAP, your deposit has been confiscated from all UP headquarters. Now Himachal is also ready to repeat the same”. In my opinion, the opponents are also expressing their faith in the policies and leadership of Prime Minister Modi, as they have faith in the mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”.
श्री @ianuragthakur ने आम आदमी पार्टी के हिमाचल प्रदेश अध्यक्ष श्री अनूप केसरी जी, संगठन महामंत्री श्री सतीश ठाकुर जी व ऊना के अध्यक्ष श्री इक़बाल सिंह जी को राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष श्री जगत प्रकाश नड्डा जी की गरिमामयी उपस्थिति में भारतीय जनता पार्टी में शामिल कराया. pic.twitter.com/ADI9cZTRp9
— Office of Mr. Anurag Thakur (@Anurag_Office) April 8, 2022
PAA plans forays into Himachal Pradesh
In the 2017 HP Assembly election, the BJP won 44 seats out of 68 Assembly members. However, Jairam Thakur emerged as the consensus choice for the post of CM after BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost the election. On the other hand, the party led by Sonia Gandhi was reduced to 21 seats. The BJP government suffered a setback last year after the Congress won the by-election for the assembly seats of Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai and Lok Sabha constituency in Mandi. The AAP aims to become a key opposition force in HP, which has traditionally been a bipolar contest between the BJP and Congress.
The AAP’s expansion plans come after the party won 92 seats in the 2022 Punjab elections, the most seats won by any party since the state reorganization in 1966. Political heavyweights including Charanjit Singh Channi, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh also lost their respective seats to AAP candidates. While it was blank in Uttarakhand and the UP, the party led by Arvind Kejriwal opened its account in Goa by pocketing two seats.
Organizing a rally in Tiranga at Mandi with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said, “We are ordinary people, we don’t know how to do politics. Instead, we know how to work for the people, build schools, and end corruption. We have ended corruption in just 20 days in Punjab since Bhagwant Mann became the CM. Now ‘Kranti’ is also expected to perform in Himachal Pradesh”. Moreover, CM MP for Delhi, Manish Sisodia has claimed that Jairam Thakur will be replaced by Anurag Thakur, a claim denied by the BJP.