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Kejriwal to skip 3 days of his 11-day Punjab visit

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is on an 11-day campaign tour of Punjab, today decided to skip three days of the visit to attend proceedings in a court case in Delhi.

"Kejriwal will not be addressing the party rallies slated for November 26, 27 and 28 as he has to appear in a court case at Delhi and had also summoned a Cabinet meeting," a party spokesman said here.

However, Kejriwal will address the party rallies on November 29 and 30 before winding up the Punjab visit, he said.

Today is Kejriwal's fifth day in Punjab as part of electioneering for the 2017 assembly polls.

Meanwhile, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh ridiculed Kejriwal for "running away" from his "flop rallies" and the ongoing protests by resentful party workers, "on the pretext of some urgent work in New Delhi".

Having "failed" to stand by the people of the state on the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal issue, Kejriwal is now rubbing salt on their wounds by deciding to leave in the middle of his scheduled rallies, he said.

"Though some reports suggested Kejriwal had to go to New Delhi to attend court proceeding in a defamation case against him, the fact that the next date of hearing is yet to be announced clearly indicated it is a mere excuse for the 'Bhagoda' (fugitive) AAP leader to get away," the Punjab Congress president said.

He said people of Punjab has a right to knwo "what urgent work has suddenly drawn Kejriwal away from Punjab".

Even if it was the defamation case that had forced Kejriwal to leave Punjab, it was clear the SC orders refusing to stay the matter had come as a "god-sent" for the AAP leader, he said.

"Kejriwal would, in any case, have found some excuses or the other to run away in the current situation, where he had been facing no-shows from the public and vocal protests by party workers at his rallies in Punjab," he said.

He said it was "obvious" Kejriwal could face neither the media nor the people of Punjab on the SYL issue.

"What's more, he is facing wrath of his party workers against his gag order prohibiting them from speaking on the SYL issue," the PPCC chief pointed out, adding this was another reason for Kejriwal to run away from Punjab.

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Meanwhile, SAD said Kejriwal "abandoned" his tour and fled back to Delhi after coming to know "corruption revelations" were going to be made against him.

Senior SAD leader and party MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said the immediate reason for cancellation tour was the "revelations of corruption made" against top AAP leaders in which "he (Kejriwal) had also been made a party".

He said AAP Bhoa candidate Vinod Kumar had clearly stated he had been "asked for Rs 1 crore for the party ticket by party Punjab Incharge Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak".

The MP said this was only one of the many corruption charges levelled against the AAP leadership in Punjab.

"Punjabis asked him to disclose his stand on the SYL canal issue and started condemning him when he refused to explain why he had supported Haryana and demanded construction of the canal in an affidavit submitted to the SC," he said.

Dhindsa said numerous other instances of "ticket selling" were emerging and Kejriwal's silence on the issue was only indicting him amongst the cadre and Punjabis.

He said recently an AAP worker of Jandiala Guru had accused the party of "selling ticket" of the constituency to an outsider in a phone conversation with party state incharge Sanjay Singh.

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First Published: Thu, November 24 2016. 17:57 IST