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March 15, 2024

Senior Punjab Congress Leader Raj Kumar Chabbewal Jumps Ship to AAP Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections

In a significant blow to the Congress party’s morale ahead of the impending Lok Sabha polls, senior Punjab legislator Raj Kumar Chabbewal has announced his departure from the party ranks, opting to join the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Chabbewal, a prominent figure within the Congress fold and a respected MLA representing the Chabbewal assembly constituency in Hoshiarpur district, revealed his decision on Friday.

At 54 years old, Chabbewal, who held the esteemed position of Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, cited reasons undisclosed for his exit from the Congress, marking a notable shift in his political allegiance. He officially declared his affiliation with the AAP, receiving a warm reception into the party from none other than Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann himself.

Chabbewal’s move underscores a growing trend of political realignment in Punjab, with this being the second high-profile defection from the Congress to the AAP within a week. His decision to switch sides has been attributed to his admiration for the AAP’s pro-people policies, particularly championed by Bhagwant Mann, which resonated with his own political ethos.

With speculation abound, sources within the AAP hinted at the possibility of fielding Chabbewal as their candidate for the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat, further solidifying his newfound association with the party.

Earlier announcements made by Chabbewal on social media platform X confirmed his resignation from the Indian National Congress and the Punjab Legislative Assembly, albeit without divulging explicit reasons for his departure. In his missive addressed to the Congress president and shared online, Chabbewal expressed his decision to sever ties with the party, signaling a definitive end to his longstanding association.

In parallel, Chabbewal tendered his resignation to the Punjab Assembly Speaker, effectively relinquishing his position as a legislative assembly member, thereby formalizing his exit from both the party and the state assembly.

Having secured re-election from the Chabbewal constituency during the 2022 State Assembly elections, Chabbewal’s political trajectory has been closely observed, particularly given his previous bid for the Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 elections, where he contested under the Congress banner but faced defeat at the hands of the BJP’s Som Prakash.

Hailing from the culturally rich Doaba region of Punjab, Chabbewal’s crossover to the AAP marks a significant development in the state’s political landscape, heralding potential ramifications for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and beyond.

As the AAP strengthens its foothold in Punjab with strategic acquisitions of seasoned political figures like Chabbewal, the Congress finds itself grappling with the repercussions of internal dissent and external challenges posed by resurgent rivals.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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