Delhi

Bijwasan MLA Devinder Sehrawat joins BJP

Brijwasan AAP MLA Col. (Retd.) Devender Sehrawat who joined BJP, being welcomed by Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta at the Delhi BJP in New Delhi on Monday.

Brijwasan AAP MLA Col. (Retd.) Devender Sehrawat who joined BJP, being welcomed by Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta at the Delhi BJP in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Col. Devinder Kumar Sehrawat, who was suspended from AAP in 2016, continued to represent Bijwasan in Delhi Assembly

Suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Col. Devinder Kumar Sehrawat, who represents the Bijwasan Assembly constituency in south west Delhi; defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday.

He is the second MLA with ties to the AAP to join the BJP in less than a week. The BJP utilised the opportunity to attack the AAP for “ill treating” a retired army person and equating the alleged harassment meted out to Mr. Sehrawat with the party’s “view on” and “respect for” the armed forces per se.

Mr. Sehrawat, who was suspended from the primary membership of the AAP in September 2016 for publicly alleging that AAP members in Punjab were “exploiting women” in lieu of tickets to contest the Punjab Assembly elections, had not resigned from membership of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

In addition to what he alleged was “harassment” and “ill treatment” being meted out to him, Mr. Sehrawat said he had taken the decision to switch to the BJP after being “inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the nation and national security.”

“I was unceremoniously suspended from the AAP after I raised my voice against party members exploiting women in Punjab and then harassed systematically so I could not perform development work in my constituency,” he alleged at his induction ceremony at the Delhi BJP office on Monday afternoon.

“I tried to work for the development of my area even after being suspended from the party but they (the AAP) tried to sabotage all my efforts,” he alleged further.

“Three to four other AAP MLAs,” Mr. Sehrawat alleged, were “sent” to his constituency to “bad mouth” and chip away at his support base.

“First I was harassed like many other AAP MLAs are routinely harassed — both at meetings as well as in public — and then they ensured that I couldn’t undertake any development in my area by not releasing funds for such work,” he claimed.

“I had many meetings and discussions with my supporters and local residents who told me that the AAP wasn’t worth my allegiance. I was encouraged to take this step which is also informed by my support for the actions and policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.

BJP opens doors

Union Minister Vijay Goel, who presided over a similar ceremony for the induction of sitting AAP MLA from Gandhi Nagar Anil Kumar Bajpai on Friday, reiterated that the BJP’s doors were open for other sitting AAP legislators who either “felt insulted” or felt that they were not getting their due in the party.

“This is how they treat an ex army man? By harassing and sabotaging his attempts to do their job? This shows the level of respect the AAP has for the armed forces of the country,” Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, who was also part of the ceremony, said.

As The Hindu has already reported, BJP sources claim “between 7 to 14 sitting AAP MLAs” are in touch with senior leaders from the party’s Delhi unit to jump ship “at the earliest”.

However, according to BJP insiders, the part has decided to take baby steps in regards to inducting more AAP MLAs into its Delhi unit as it seeks to reap the electoral benefits of “letting the AAP continue” to present a third political front in the Capital.

This, BJP leaders believe, will ensure a split of votes between the BJP and the Congress, and trigger a situation which is expected to benefit the BJP. This, sources claim, is the party’s strategy “at least till the conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections.”

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 1:41:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/bijwasan-mla-devinder-sehrawat-joins-bjp/article27047134.ece

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