Jumping into a virtual free-for-all in the fragmented Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its member, Himmat Singh Shergill, alleged here on Wednesday that party's Fatehgarh Sahib MP, Harinder Singh Khalsa, had been bought over by the ruling Badals.
At a press conference, Shergill, a lawyer who had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election in Anandpur Sahib, claimed to have reports that the Badals had approached Khalsa. In a separate press statement, AAP's Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur also cautioned Khalsa and Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi against condemning senior leadership of the party in public. He, however, declined to comment on Shergill's statement.
Sharp to react, Khalsa said: "This can't be Shergill's independent move. Party leadership, including Sanjay Singh, Manish Sisodia and Chhotepur were aware of it. Certain elements within the party are trying to defame me." Reacting to Shergill's allegations, Khalsa said the SAD was "Smack Akali Dal" in his opinion. Objecting to "unnecessary interference" from Sanjay Singh, in charge of Punjab affairs in the party, the MP said: "These outsiders do not trust Punjabis."
He said Sanjay Singh had rejected the May 9 resolution of party's Punjab executive committee to sack Chhotepur as head of the state unit. "He even lied to the media that there had been no such meeting in Delhi," said Khalsa. Dr Gandhi, in Delhi for the Parliament session, told HT on telephone that Shergill's accusations against Khalsa had pained him. "This can't be Shergill's own idea," he said, adding that he would take up the matter with the central party leaders.
The Patiala MP also had reservations over the way the party had expelled, Dr Daljit Singh, head of party's Punjab disciplinary committee. Dr Daljit Singh had also dissented against "Sanjay Singh's dictatorial attitude".