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Aam Aadmi Party further adapts to ‘Punjab dynamics’, appoints 48 halqa heads

7The party has appointed halqa pardhans (assembly segment chiefs) for 48 of the 117 seats.
The Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday switched to the ‘halqa in-charge’ system, albeit with a different name, after months of decrying the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress over it.
It appointed halqa pardhans (assembly segment chiefs) for 48 of the 117 seats. These include candidates who lost in the poll early this year. “We have 20 elected MLAs, and the 48 appointed today will function as MLAs for the party cadres and anyone who approaches them in the constituencies.
The remaining halqa pardhans will be announced soon,” said a party leader. State AAP president Bhagwant Mann and co-president Aman Arora announced the appointments. The party’s ally, Lok Insaaf Party, has two MLAs too. Arora said the AAP has not yet though of whether or not to appoint chiefs there too.
Arora confirmed that those who contested elections on the AAP ticket but lost are on the list. Mann added, “We have not given special powers to any of our halqa pardhans. They are under the surveillance of the leadership.”
Prominent on the list are Ravjot Singh for Sham Chaurasi, Paramjit Singh Sachdeva for Hoshiarpur, Brig Raj Kumar (retd) for Balachaur, Jagseer Singh for Bhucho and Sukhwinder Singh ‘Bhola’ Mann for Sardulgarh, all of whom had lost by relatively thin margins.
As for the two constituencies where the AAP alliance partner Lok Insaaf party has MLAs, Arora said the party so far have not thought about whether to appoint pardhans there or not.
He, however, insisted, “We remain against the system wherein such appointees are made to function as MLAs by the government.” And justified the party’s move, “On 85 seats, we don’t have MLAs, so we want to groom our local leaders and halqa pardhans are part of our eight-layer state structure.”
The eight-layer structure is the state president, in-charges of five zones, district presidents, assembly segment in-charges, block heads, circle- and village-level in-charges, followed by booth-level heads.
The AAP has made a departure from its announced ideology in the past too, when it decided to call the Punjab unit ‘convener’ the ‘president’ after having lost the polls. At the national level, Arvind Kejriwal remains the ‘convener’. Party leaders say that, despite a different nomenclature in the central unit, they are doing “what the political dynamics of Punjab demand”.
Meanwhile, the party also appointed lawyer Naseeb Bawa as its Moga district president and three spokespersons, Darshan Singh Shanker, Bhiminder Singh and Neel Garg. It also appointed 17 media panellists.

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