In spite of criticism, the fund-raising dinner has earned Rs 2.60 lakh for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as 26 people from Sangrur and neighbouring districts attended it by paying Rs10,000 each. Talking to the HT, AAP’s MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann said, “A total of 26 people participated in the dinner and most of them were social workers from Sangrur.”
However, the funds raised from the dinner may not be used to meet the expenses to be incurred on the stay of the executive committee members here as, according to the sources, they may be borne by local MP Bhagwant Mann, who had collected donations of Rs8 lakh during the recent Lok Sabha elections and he had managed to save part of the money.
Surprisingly, on the one hand, the party organised a dinner to raise funds, on the other, as per insiders, a total of 40 luxury rooms in the city’s top hotels have been booked for the guests (members of the national executive committee). These include 22 rooms in Red Apple, 10 in The Chef and 8 in KT Royal hotel. According to sources, charges per room in these hotels range from Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, AAP’s former Sunam convener Bharat Hari Sharma expressed resentment over the ‘VIP treatment’ being given to members of the national executive committee.
“I don’t know from where the money will come and who will foot the bill or whether it is free of cost,” said AAP’s former Sunam convener Bharat Sharma, who was expelled from the party hours after party convener Arvind Kejriwal arrived.
Sharma, a retired government teacher, widely known as Masterji in Sunam, however, raised a question mark over the tall claims being made by Kejriwal of bringing swaraj. “I alone had started the membership drive by sitting on the roadside, people laughed at me but I helped the party to win the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat; if they can expel me I don’t think that there is swaraj in the party.”
“Bhagwant Mann was nowhere in the party that time when I started the membership drive and took out a ‘jhadhu yatra’ at Sunam and now the party has given him the authority to expel us. So where is swaraj in this party”, he asked.
Bhagwant Mann said, “To accommodate new faces, we have to give importance to new leaders also, but we are sure that we will bring back our old companions as well”.
Workers of the Moga unit of the party also raised questions over the appointment of Ajay Sharma as the district convener. Several workers, led by Narender Singh, advocate, sat on a dharna outside the meeting venue. Senior leader Yogender Yadav asked them to lift the dharna and assured to take action over their demand.