In another setback, AAP MLA Devinder Sehrawat joins BJP
New Delhi, May 06: Accusing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of ignoring and insulting him, AAP MLA Devinder Singh Sehrawat joined the BJP on Monday, becoming the second legislator from the ruling party in Delhi to jump into the saffron fold in less than a week.
AAP's Gandhi Nagar MLA Anil Bajpai quit the party and joined the BJP on Friday.
Sehrawat, a legislator from Bijwasan, joined the saffron party at a press conference in the presence of senior Delhi BJP leaders Vijay Goel and Vijendra Gupta.
Reacting to the development, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said his party will not allow any defector to remain MLA and it is ready with disqualification petitions.
"Defectors are day dreaming about continuing their MLA office & they should be ready to face the electorate," he said. Sehrawat should seek re-election, Bharadwaj said, "but shameless characters might want to continue".
Earlier at the press conference, Sehrawat accused AAP of ignoring and cornering him. He said he was not even invited to party functions.
"The party insulted me, but I took it in my stride and continued working for the development of my area," the retired colonel said.
"My people said 'we have elected you to work for us' and supported my decision to quit the AAP. I have joined the BJP considering the respect India got under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
Goel said the BJP was interested in inducting Sehrawat into the party even before he had joined the AAP.
"The party (AAP) would ignore Sehrawat and not even invite him to events in the area. When he felt he's being insulted, the legislator decided to join the BJP," Goel said.
Kejriwal tried putting pressure on Sehrawat when he got to know of his decision to leave the "sinking ship", he alleged.
The BJP has kept its door open for all those who are feeling insulted in the AAP, the Union minister said.
BJP leader Vijendra Gupta said, "Kejriwal tried to conspire against Sehrawat, sidelined him...He is being made to pay for opposing the party's decision to oust Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhusan."
Gupta said AAP insulted a retired Army officer and asked the party to apologise to him.
AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged the Modi government was "using the proceeds from the Rafale scam to buy AAP MLAs".
"They are doing the same thing in West Bengal. Modiji should tell how many MLAs they are planning to buy," he said.
Rejecting the charge, Goel said, "It is wrong on his (Kejriwal's) part to allege that his party MLAs are being bought by the BJP."
"We did not say anything when our former MLA Gagan Singh quit BJP to join the AAP. He (Kejriwal) should learn how to respect his MLAs. His MLAs are leaving the party due to disrespect and suffocation and not for money," he added.
AAP spokesperson Bharadwaj added that probity in public life demands that a legislator after quitting the party on whose symbol he/she won an election, should immediately resign from the position and seek re-election "but shameless characters might want to continue".
"The legal position is clear - moment you voluntarily give up the membership of the party on whose symbol you were elected you are liable for disqualification according to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, he said.