Anup Kesari joined BJP in the presence of party chief J P Nadda and Union Minister Anurag Thakur.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has suffered a jolt in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh, with its state unit chief Anup Kesari switching to the BJP with two other party workers.

AAP leader and Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia downplayed the exits, saying that the party had received complaints that Mr Kesari made derogatory remarks against women and he was to be expelled anyway.

Mr Kesari joined the BJP in the presence of the party’s national president J P Nadda and Union Minister Anurag Thakur. In his remarks later, he accused Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal of insulting party workers during a roadshow in Mandi on Wednesday. 

“We have been working round the clock with utmost honesty and dedication for AAP for the past eight years in Himachal Pradesh. However, Arvind Kejriwal overlooked the state party workers when he came for a rally and roadshow in Mandi,” Mr Kesari said.

“We are very much disappointed with him. He would not even look at us, who work day and night for the party. Only Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were the highlights of the roadshow in Mandi,” he added.

AAP’s general secretary (organisation) Satish Thakur and Una district unit chief Iqbal Singh joined the BJP with Mr Kesari.

“We felt insulted and ignored during the roadshow on April 6. So, we decided to join BJP to work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and serve the people of Himachal Pradesh,” Mr Thakur said. Mr Singh said, “They ignored and insulted us. Hence, we joined BJP.”

Union Minister Anurag Thakur welcomed the three AAP leaders and said their support will strengthen the party in retaining power in the state in the polls due in November.

He also hit out at Mr Kejriwal for insulting his party workers during the roadshow.

“On one side, Kejriwal talks about his party all the time, and on the other side, he overlooked and insulted his own dedicated workers. During the roadshow in Mandi, except CM Kejriwal and CM Mann, no one was allowed in the vehicle. No leader was given a place on the rath (vehicle),” the minister said.

Targeting the BJP over inducting the AAP leaders, Mr Sisodia said, “BJP claims it is the world’s largest party. But such is the situation that at midnight, its national chief and a Union Minister induct a person against whom there are complaints of making derogatory remarks against women. We were going to expel him today.”

“It is clear that BJP has understood the voice of the people. In their desperation, the faces of the BJP in Himachal are embracing a characterless man. The man they have inducted belongs in the BJP,” Mr Sisodia said.

AAP sources said they had received complaints against Mr Kesari from the head of its women’s wing.

“He was questioned following the complaint and he was struggling to answer the queries. The enquiry committee had recommended that he be expelled. He would have been expelled in a couple of days,” a party source said.

Following its thumping victory in Punjab, AAP is eyeing a good show in the upcoming Himachal election. 

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