Bhai Baldeep Singh, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s candidate from Khadoor Sahib in the last Lok Sabha elections, reacting to his temporary suspension for "indiscipline and anti-party activities", on Saturday said the party was drifting away from its original ideology and there was little space for freedom of speech and dissent.
Addressing a press conference here, Singh said some elements in AAP in Punjab had been spreading rumours regarding the reasons of the show-cause notice served on him on April 4 by disciplinary committee chairman Dr Daljit Singh, asking him why he should not be suspended from the party for indiscipline.
Singh said some of these elements who were allegedly on the payroll of political opponents had brought a lot of distress not only to him but also to his fellow volunteers and party workers in Punjab.
"These elements said I was a mere raagi and that I wouldn't be interested in doing party work as I was travelling to Europe 'to make money'. That I dealt in antique musical instruments and was travelling to Europe for the business and was using the party platform to run my foundation," Singh said, terming the allegations as baseless.
He said this exposed the petty mindset prevalent in the party and the shoddy homework people did before taking a decision against a party worker.
"We claim that we are a party with a difference. We need to match it with making a party structure with a difference. How could we be a party with a difference when we are full of the same run-of-the-mill politicians - ministers and chief-minister wannabes? How can we be a party with a difference when the leadership consists of people who are self-serving and power-hungry," Singh said.
He said in some of the meetings of AAP in Punjab he was disappointed to hear criticism of party MPs. "This is not a constructive path. Party volunteers and active members should have instead focused on building a structure supporting the elected parliamentarians of AAP," he added.