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Punjab bypoll: After joining AAP, Surjit Kaur makes U-turn; back to Akali fold

SAD's Surjit Kaur went back to the Akali fold on Tuesday evening, within hours after she had joined the ruling outfit in the presence of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Surjit Kaur's son, while replying to questions about the U-turn, said, 'Whatever the reasons have been, we realised we did wrong and we decided to come back'.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 19:34 IST

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Chandigarh: In an embarrassment to the AAP in Punjab, SAD's Surjit Kaur was back to the Akali fold on Tuesday evening, within hours after she had joined the ruling outfit in the presence of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Days after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) withdrew support and disowned its candidate Surjit Kaur, who was fielded for Jalandhar West bypoll, she had joined the ruling AAP in Jalandhar in the presence of the chief minister.

However, taking a U-turn by evening, Kaur, who had joined the AAP along with some of her family members, was back to the SAD fold led by the rebel group.

Rebel Akali leader Bibi Jagir Kaur welcomed her back while interacting with reporters in Jalandhar.

Sukhbir Singh Badal-led SAD had last week said the party will support the BSP nominee for the July 10 bypoll to the Jalandhar West assembly seat instead of the officially fielded candidate Surjit Kaur who was picked by a panel, two of whose members have now rebelled against the party chief.

While Surjit Kaur did not speak much during the interaction with reporters in Jalandhar, Jagir Kaur, however, said, "We told her not to worry. We told her people are with her." Her family has always been staunch Akalis who have never thought outside the Akali Dal, Jagir Kaur said.

Surjit Kaur's son, while replying to questions about what prompted them to join the AAP and then return by evening, said, "Whatever the reasons have been, we realised we did wrong and we decided to come back." Jagir Kaur said Surjit Kaur's family was disturbed after SAD decided to withdraw support to her and extend it to the BSP candidate for the July 10 bypolls.

Jagir Kaur said Surjit Kaur will fight the elections strongly and from Wednesday all meetings, as scheduled earlier, will be held.

The SAD, last week, was unable to change its authorised candidate Surjit Kaur as the last day for withdrawal of nominations had already passed.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, Surjit Kaur along with some of her family members joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Jalandhar.

Before making a U-turn, she had told reporters that she will now support AAP candidate Mohinderpal Bhagat for the bypolls.

Speaking after she had joined the AAP, Chief Minister Mann had hit out at the SAD, saying first they gave the ticket to Surjit Kaur, but later they humiliated her.

The chief minister said Surjit Kaur and her family are known to have dedicated their lives in the service of people.

"As Punjab chief minister and as the party's state unit president, I welcome her," Mann had said.

Kaur later told reporters that it was on Tuesday morning that she decided to join the AAP.

"We did not speak to anyone. We decided in the morning about our move," she had said, when asked if she had spoken to any of the rebel SAD leaders.

Before changing her mind, Kaur, on her joining the AAP, had earlier in the day said she and her family thought it was the best thing to do in the interests of people of the area after the SAD withdrew support to her.

The SAD now does not have its own authorised candidate for the July 10 bypoll, senior party leader Daljit Singh Cheema had told reporters on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the SAD's Jalandhar district unit chief had announced that the party has withdrawn support to Surjit Kaur, who is a two-time municipal councillor.

Surjit Kaur was selected for the seat by a SAD panel comprising Bibi Jagir Kaur, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, MLA Sukhwinder Sukhi and Mohinder Singh Kaypee.

However, Jagir Kaur and Wadala are now among the rebel party leaders who revolted against Badal, demanding that he should step down as the party chief.

The last date of withdrawal of the nomination for the bypoll was July 26.

Surjit Kaur had already been allotted the SAD symbol and she was among the 15 candidates who were left in the fray for the bypoll, which was necessitated following the resignation of Sheetal Angural as the AAP legislator.

Notably, a section of SAD's senior party leaders have revolted against party chief Sukhbir Badal, demanding that he should step down from his post following its debacle in Punjab in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. PTI SUN KSS KSS

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Published 02 July 2024, 19:34 IST

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