Amid Tensions With AAP, Lawmaker Alka Lamba Says Won't Campaign For Party

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    New Delhi: 

    Delhi legislator Alka Lamba on Thursday announced that she would not campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections amid souring ties with her party. She accused AAP’s leadership of not meeting with her despite several requests and said that she has been “kept away” from the party’s official functions.

    “For the last four months, I have been trying to get an appointment with the party leaders, but no one has responded to me, so I have decided that I would not be campaigning for the party anymore,” news agency PTI quoted Ms Lamba as saying.

    However, she said she would continue to work for her constituency, “I have decided that whatever is going on between me and the party, I will not let that affect the public,” Ms Lamba said.

    The lawmaker from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk also accused party colleague and AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj of trying to create a rift between her and the party.

    “Saurabh Bhardwaj has been repeatedly levelling accusations that I am joining the Congress party, (he has) fuelled the rumours in party and media that I am contesting Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket,” she was quoting as saying by news agency ANI.

    The two legislators had also indulged in a Twitter spat earlier this month, with Ms Lamba claiming that Saurabh Bharadwaj was “attacking her” with the party’s backing.

    She even took a swipe at the party on Twitter on Thursday after Punjab’s AAP lawmaker Nazar Singh Manshahia joined Congress and was photographed with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

    Ms Lamba also criticized Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the national convenor of AAP, over his appeal to volunteers to join his party’s Lok Sabha campaign. She said that the appeal to volunteers made the party look “weak”.

    “This appeal depicts the weakness of the Delhi AAP unit. Why did it come to this,” she said. “I have not been invited to MLA party meetings for the past four months and I have no option to raise this issue internally,” the lawmaker said.

    Tensions have been simmering between Ms Lamba and her party since December when she was asked to quit AAP in a row over a state assembly resolution. Ms Lamba had reportedly said that her party colleagues were angry after she opposed a resolution aimed at withdrawing late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna over his failure to stop the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

    Ms Lamba started her political career with Congress’s student wing and was a member of the party until 2014, when she joined Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP in 2014.

    In recent months, she has hinted at being open to rejoining Congress. Earlier this month, she declared that she was not averse to backing the Congress against the BJP nominee in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency as long as the people want it.

    Asked in March whether she would join the grand old party if she were to get a proposal, she replied: “Congress has to decide that, an uninvited guest isn’t welcomed anywhere…. It will be an honour for me (to go back) because I have given 20 years to Congress.”

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