Former BSP leader to join Shiromani Akali Dal

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With Baldev Khera of Phillaur, who had quit the Bahujan Samaj Party yesterday, set to join the Shiromani Akali Dal tomorrow, the Akalis seem to be in a mood to replace their sitting MLA and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Avinash Chander, who is currently facing investigation in the Bhola drug case.Avinash has been summoned six times by Enforcement Directorate investigation officer Niranjan Singh. Even his brother, Steven Kler, has had to appear and show the details of his properties, movable assets and income sources.Not just the BJP leaders, even some Akalis had recently sought resignation of Avinash from the CPS post.Avinash had in 2012 won the election from Phillaur with a thin margin of 31 votes from the present Congress MP, Chaudhary Santokh Singh. Khera confirmed: “I will be joining SAD in Chandigarh in the presence of Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal post-lunch tomorrow. I am all for the development agenda being pursued by the Badals.”Avinash has off late not been seen much either in political circles or even in his constituency and people have had to approach him at his palatial house in Chhoti Baradari. Even when he comes to political functions, he has not been getting much prominence and the party high command had already indicated that they were looking for his replacement.Recently, there were reports of former Banga MLA Mohan Lal becoming active in the constituency.Avinash Chander, however, said, “I welcome the joining of Baldev Khera as it will certainly strengthen the party. However, giving tickets is the prerogative of the party high command. They will give it to anyone whom they feel is the most winnable candidate.”

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