Paviter Singh, one of the five Aam Aadmi Party national council members from Punjab, claims that the AAP’s state affairs in-charge, Sanjay Singh, and national organisation building head, Durgesh Pathak, demanded Rs 50 lakh from him for assembly election ticket to his wife.
His wife, Lakhvinder Kaur, is joint secretary of the AAP women’s wing in Punjab and he wanted her to contest from Phillaur. Both Pathak and Sanjay denied that they even met Paviter. They accuse him of making up stories to damage the party after his wife was denied ticket.
At a press conference on Wednesday here, Paviter said he had met the two leaders at the house of senior leader Himmat Singh Shergill in Sector 16 here on August 15. “They said the ticket was for Rs 2.5 crore but for me, a member of the party’s national council, they could make a concession,” he said. “Fearing that I’ll record it, they didn’t let me take my mobile phone into the meeting. The same evening, I reported it to party convener Arvind Kejriwal on mobile phone and e-mail but there is no reply.”
The former teacher is with the AAP since its India Against Corruption (IAC) days of Anna Hazare’s Janlokpal agitation in New Delhi. “I am disappointed but not disheartened,” he said. “I will not quit the party. I still have some hope left in Kejriwal.”
Former bureaucrat Hardip Singh Kingra, who resigned from the AAP after being denied ticket from Faridkot, was also at the press conference and so were some former AAP leaders who had moved to the Swaraj Abhiyaan first and then the Swaraj Party.
14 more finalised
The AAP political affairs committee that met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of party convener Arvind Kejriwal is said to have finalised a second list of 14 candidates for the Punjab assembly elections. Party sources said the list would be out in a day or two. It is likely to include the names of Gurpreet Bhatti from Amloh, Raj Gill from Fatehgarh Sahib, Daljit Bhola from Ludhiana East, and Karan Tiwana from Patiala.
Prove it, say party leaders
Reacting to the allegations of putting election ticket on auction, Durgesh Pathak said he did not meet Paviter Singh on August 15. “If Paviter has some proof that I met him, demanded money, or even had a conversation like this with him, he should give it to Arvind Kejriwal.” Sanjay Singh said Paviter Singh had come out with a baseless story because his wife was not in the field. “We are an honest party and integrity is supreme to us. Before the public, we are answerable to ourselves,” he said. Party leader Himmat Singh Shergill said: “I wasn’t even home when Paviter claims he came over to see Durgesh and Sanjay.”