Former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Jagbir Singh Brar joined the ruling Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann here.
The development comes in the run-up to the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll necessitated following the death of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary (76) in January. The bypoll will be a litmus test for the ruling AAP which had last year lost the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll after coming to power in Punjab.
The date for the bypoll is yet to be announced. In a tweet, AAP general secretary Harchand Singh Barsat said, "Aam Aadmi Party got a big boost when former MLA from Jalandhar Cantonment and 2022 candidate Jagbir Singh Brar bid farewell to Akali Dal along with his colleagues and joined AAP in presence of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar BhagwantMann."
Brar is an influential leader in Jalandhar and his joining the AAP has strengthened the party in the upcoming bypoll, Barsat said in a statement. Brar was first elected from the Jalandhar Cantonment seat in 2007 on a SAD ticket. He later joined the People's Party of Punjab, floated by Manpreet Singh Badal. Thereafter, he switched over to the Congress but was defeated in the 2012 assembly polls by Pargat Singh, who contested from the Jalandhar Cantonment seat on a SAD ticket.
Ahead of the 2022 state assembly polls, Brar quit the Congress and returned to the Shiromani Akali Dal. Jagbir unsuccessfully contested the 2022 assembly polls from the Jalandhar Cantonment seat.
On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Mann and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal paid obeisance at Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar and sought blessings from Dera Sachkhand Ballan chief Sant Niranjan Dass.
They also laid the foundation stone of the Guru Ravidas Bani Adhiyan centre at Ballan and handed over the cheque for first instalment of Rs 25 crore to Dera Sachkhand Ballan chief Sant Niranjan Dass to start work on the project.