Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday came to the defence of “old friend” Sucha Singh Chhotepur, state convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who is facing the heat of a “sting operation, engineered from within the party”.
As a defiant Chhotepur refused to step down despite threats of being stripped of the post, Amarinder told HT that he was ready to welcome him to Congress fold.
Amarinder was reacting to reports that AAP may remove Chhotepur. “I know him for the past 35 years. I may have strong political differences with Chhotepur, but I acknowledge and admire his qualities of honesty and integrity and will not like to keep quiet when he is being made a victim of an internal coup and intrigue. It is disgustingly unfair that when you don’t like a man, you start tarnishing and targeting his unblemished image,” Amarinder said in a statement.
Hitting out at AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, party’s state in-charge Sanjay Singh, senior leaders Durgesh Pathak and Ashish Khetan, Amarinder said leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana were resorting to “dirty tricks” against the son of the soil Chhotepur, who had nourished and nurtured the party from its inception in Punjab. “The sting operation has clearly been conceived, planned and executed as part of an internal coup engineered by the AAP leaders from outside who want to control Punjab through remote by using their local stooges and inconsequential wannabe leaders,” the state Congress chief said.
He asked Kejriwal to look into the “monumental transformation” in the lifestyle of leaders, including Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak, since they started their political career in Punjab. “They were all crammed in a single small car and now each one of them has a few luxury SUVs at their disposal. It’s been a phenomenal progress indeed,” he said, adding that the party should explain the massive expenditure running into hundreds of crores it incurred during last two years in Punjab.
“Kejriwal has a history and character of using and throwing away people. He did it with his mentor Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, and Chhotepur is the next and not the last in line. He (Kejriwal) wants to act as a remote control. He is trying to weed out all leaders who he thinks can question and challenge his intentions and authority. Earlier, he did same with two AAP MPs, Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa,” he said.