Punjab elections: Former Congress minister Joginder Singh Mann joins AAP

Day after quitting Congress, former three-time MLA inducted into Aam Aadmi Party by party national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

Former Congress minister and Punjab Agro Industries Corporation chairman Joginder Singh Mann joined the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday.

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Mann was inducted into the party by AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the presence of the party’s Punjab affairs co-incharge Raghav Chadha.

On Friday, Mann resigned from the Congress, snapping his 50-year-old ties with the party. “I lost eight family members to militancy yet I remained a loyal soldier of the Congress for five decades. Apparently, now the party doesn’t need us that is why our loyalty is considered as our weakness. But it is not so as we are strong enough to safeguard the interests of residents of Phagwara in general and that of underprivileged sections in particular even without the Congress,” he said.

In a letter to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, the three-time former Phagwara MLA said, “I had a dream that when I die, the Congress tri-colour will be wrapped around my body but my conscience does not allow me to stay here after seeing the Congress patronising those guilty of the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students.”

Mann had spoken up against Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu recently after he was ignored during a rally organised by local MLA Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal in Phagwara. “Maharajas, landlords, moneybags and opportunist leaders like Captain Amarinder Singh and Sidhu came to the party for their vested interests due to which the party drifted from its core values and the focus shifted merely to contest elections and grab power. For the past few months, I’ve been having sleepless nights because hundreds of SC students’ career has been ruined due to the usurping of money. Instead of punishing the guilty, the Congress sheltered them and the recent Cabinet decision was the final blow,” he said.

Citing another reason for quitting, he said residents of Phagwara have to travel 40km to Kapurthala for getting their administrative works done at the district headquarters. He said had been repeatedly flagging the issue of according district status to Phagwara with the then CM Captain Amarinder Singh and later Charanjit Singh Channi. “Instead of paying heed, they ignored this long-pending demand of Phagwara residents,” he said.

Mann also claimed that over the past few years, the Congress has been meting out a step-motherly treatment to the Valmiki or Mazhabi Sikhs, while using the community as a vote bank.

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