Fissures in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the entry of Manjeet Singh Dasuya, former US president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), came wide open today with state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur putting a spanner a few minutes before the scheduled press conference here.
Dasuya, who reportedly shed his US citizenship a few days ago to join AAP, was president of the US wing of the SAD for around 20 years. His induction in the AAP was to be announced by Chhotepur along with a few others at the briefing.
Chhotepur had to drop Dasuya after resentment expressed by some senior leaders of the party, including organisational in-charge Durgesh Pathak, who wanted the former Akali leader’s name to be cleared from the screening panel set for the induction of leaders. Pathak, Chhotepur and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann are members of the panel.
The bickering in the party to induct Dasuya had plunged to such a low ebb that some leaders even went to the extent of alerting the media by terming Chottepur’s move as “arbitrary”.
Sources confirmed Dasuya was in Jalandhar to attend the media briefing, but when a senior party leader conveyed harsh words against his induction to Chhotepur, the AAP state convenor decided to put his induction on hold.
Chhotepur, however, rejected allegations of infighting in the party. “Dasuya was scheduled to join today but he got stuck with some very urgent personal work. In the coming days, he may perhaps join the party,” Chhotepur said, while rejecting claims of controversy on the issue.
Dasuya, when contacted by HT, claimed he was ready to join the party today, but was told more time was needed to verify his credentials. “I told the party I was not in hurry. They have sought one week’s time to let me know,” Dasuya said.
Chhotepur, when asked about the recent in-principal decision taken by the party not to prefer leaders from SAD or the Congress into AAP, Chhotepur stated people who will join AAP “won’t be coming from Pakistan”.
“Leaders who join AAP in the future would end up being from the Congress, SAD or the BJP as they are the only traditional parties. We don’t have any problems with SAD leaders who have not served as MLA, MP or held other important posts in the party,” said Chhotepur.
Among those who joined the AAP today included advocate Anoop Raj Singh Gill, son of former SAD legislator from Ludhiana Rural, late Dhanraj Singh Gill.
Former Principal of DAV College Jalandhar, Dr Satish Sharma, who is at present director with the DAV management in Delhi, former assistant advocate general Amarjeet Singh Sidhu who served under the SAD-BJP government and Surjit Singh, block samiti member from Mukerian, also joined AAP.