Manpreet faces revolt within party
People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday faced a revolt from his closest comrades, who accused him of pocketing at least Rs 3 crore collected as party funds in foreign countries before the January 30 assembly elections.chandigarh Updated: Oct 31, 2012 23:36 IST
People's Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Singh Badal on Wednesday faced a revolt from his closest comrades, who accused him of pocketing at least Rs 3 crore collected as party funds in foreign countries before the January 30 assembly elections.
"We demand a white paper from Manpreet on the money (Rs 3 crore) he collected in the party's name during his visits abroad (particularly the US and Canada)," said Arunjot Sodhi, a founder member of the PPP, at a press conference here.
Accompanied by PPP leaders Bharat Bhushan Thapar and Kulwant Lohgarh, Sodhi also announced the party's "general house" meeting on November 16.
Claiming that "90 % of the 150 founder members and the central committee members" had resentment against the PPP president, Sodhi demanded the white paper from Manpreet by November 16.
Sodhi also alleged that Manpreet was looking forward to joining the Congress.
The other allegations levelled against the PPP president include the deployment of 26 gunmen of the Punjab Police on the premises of his family members, fraudulently floating non-governmental organisation (NGO) SuBeRa and passing it off as a project to help his son get admission in a US-based educational institution, and the selection of PPP candidates for the assembly polls in an "undemocratic" manner.
When contacted, Shaheed Bhagat Singh's nephew Abhay Sandhu, another of Manpreet's close associates, justified Wednesday's press conference by Sodhi, saying that the PPP president was accountable to the party and should reply to the points raised by the rebels.
"I am happy that I never accompanied him (Manpreet) abroad," quipped Sandhu.
PPP chief refutes allegations
When contacted, Manpreet Singh Badal refuted Arunjot Sodhi's allegations, saying that the latter had already been shunted out of the party on the suspicion of "crossing over and passing on information to another party". Manpreet accused Sodhi of being won over by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
"He (Sodhi) is no more working in our party office," said Manpreet.
"I will clarify every allegation against me at a press conference in Chandigarh on Thursday," Manpreet told HT from Delhi, while claiming the support of all PPP district chiefs.
The PPP chief said he would also present the party's accounts and financial details submitted with the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Bhagwant Mann said: "There is democracy in our party. The president will reply to the questions raised by some partymen," adding it would be better not to comment on the matter at this juncture.