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Setback for AAP as Punjab MLA Jagtar Singh Jagga joins Congress


MOGA: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Punjab's Raikot Jagtar Singh Jagga joined the Congress here on Thursday, in a move that is being seen as a setback to the main opposition party in the state months before the assembly polls.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu welcomed Jagga into the party fold.

To AAP's embarrassment, Jagga during the Punjab Assembly session earlier this month had crossed the floor of the House and joined the treasury benches as he called Channi, an "aam aadmi" (common man), fuelling speculation that he may join the Congress.

Earlier this month, another AAP MLA from Punjab, Rupinder Kaur Ruby, had joined the Congress.

Meanwhile, at another event, Channi launched a scathing attack against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal saying the Delhi CM nurtured a desire to rule Punjab and was therefore trying to mislead Punjabis.

"Kejriwal is not even aware of the state's basic topography," he told the gathering at a local grain market here.

Channi also slammed the Badals of the Shiromani Akali Dal saying they had ruthlessly plundered the state.

"The Badals are connected to every misdeed against Punjab. They will have to pay for their acts against the state and its people," he said, adding cable, drugs, sand and transport mafia thrived under their misrule.

"The Badals will be made accountable for their acts of omission and commission," an official statement released by the government stated.

The Punjab chief minister said every step of his government is aimed at the well being of the common man.

"My government is of the common man, for the common man and by the common man," he said, while pointing out that he understands their problems well as he too comes from a modest family.

Listing the initiatives taken by his government, he said power bill arrears of consumers worth Rs 1,500 crore were waived, power rates for domestic consumers were reduced by Rs 3 per unit, motor bills in rural areas, running up to Rs 1,200 crore, were waived and sand prices had been reduced.

Channi also announced setting up of a nursing college and a stadium in Moga's Bagha Purana.

The stadium will be named after martyr Bhagat Singh, he said.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday assured traders here on Thursday that if his party comes to power in next year's Punjab Assembly polls, it will end the "inspector raj".

The delhi deputy chief minister said recovery raids on shops, offices and factories will be stopped forever.

On the last day of his five-day Punjab tour, Sisodia interacted with businessmen and entrepreneurs in a programme, where a number of participants suggested their needs as well as their problems along with solutions.

"The traders, businessmen and entrepreneurs of Punjab want to get rid of raids and recovery being done under the guise of inspector raj but neither the Akali-BJP government nor the government of Amarinder Singh and now Charanjit Singh Channi could give them relief from this," he said.

Sisodia said the Aam Aadmi Party government had eliminated the inspector raj when it came to power in Delhi.

"The rule of the last seven years in Delhi bears testimony to this claim," he added.

"Therefore, as soon as the AAP government is formed in 2022 in Punjab, the inspector raj will end, the same day," he added.

He said traders need a peaceful environment, development of their area and financial help from the government to run their business, which the AAP will provide from day one.