The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) removal of Sucha Singh Chhotepur from the post of Punjab unit convener comes as the latest in a series of actions taken against leaders by the rookie outfit. Here are some of those in Punjab who have fallen out with the AAP ever since it made a mark in Punjab by winning all four of the party’s Lok Sabha seats from here:
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, MP from Patiala
Why: Currently suspended from the party, he was amongst the first rebels along with Yogendra Yadav to raise a voice of dissent over the allegedly autocratic manner of functioning. In May 2015, AAP’s national council meeting in Delhi came as a turning point as he was pushed out of the venue along with Yadav and others. He was formally suspended in August that year.
What now: A regular critic of the party, he has not resigned from the party nor has he been expelled as that will mean the party losing a LS seat. He recently floated a new political front in Punjab, calling for AAP’s rebels and other “alternative” forces in Punjab to unite and fight the assembly polls. He has not formally launched a party, though.
Harinder Singh Khalsa, MP from Fatehgarh Sahib
Why: Khalsa, like Dr Gandhi, accused the AAP’s Delhi leadership of a dictatorial attitude. He organised a conference of AAP rebels along with Dr Gandhi at Baba Bakala near Amritsar in August last year, leading to their suspension.
What now: Khalsa, a former diplomat, continues to have the status of AAP MP. He has maintained a distance from the other parties and newer fronts for now.
Sumail Singh Sidhu, was with Anna Hazare movement and then AAP
Why: The academic-activist was sidelined by the AAP’s central leadership after dissenting over a particular list of candidates for Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls, in February 2014. He parted ways after the polls.
What now: Sumail launched the Punjab Sanjhiwal Morcha and, earlier this year, unsuccessfully contested the Khadoor Sahib assembly bypoll that the AAP did not contest and Congress “boycotted”, and SAD won. He got fewer votes than the NOTA option.
Bhai Baldeep Singh, 2014 LS candidate from Khadoor Sahib
Why: The classical singer and scholar, he was seen as a part of the Yogendra Yadav group and was suspended for “anti-party activities” last year.
What now: Back in his world of classical music, he actively posts videos on the internet commenting on a range of issues. Earlier this year, he filed his nomination for the Khadoor Sahib assembly bypoll but that was rejected on technical grounds.
Hardeep Kingra, was state-level AAP leader
Why: The former civil servant quit the party after the announcement of the first list of candidate earlier this month, questioning the credentials of the people joining the party.
What now: Considered a Chhotepur loyalist and once a contender for AAP ticket, he was at the press conference earlier this week where Dr Dharamvira Gandhi announced a new political front.
Dr Daljit Singh, 2014 LS candidate from Amritsar
Why: The renowned eye specialist and social activist kept a low profile after the LS polls, as he felt disillusioned over the party suspending two MPs (Gandhi and Khalsa). He was a vocal critic of the party’s manner of functioning and thus was removed.
What now: Back full-time into the medical profession, he says he has no more interest in politics.