A fortnight ago, when the first list of 19 candidates was announced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its state unit convener, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, showed displeasure over the choices, and decided to meet party chief Arvind Kejriwal for changes. The second list of 13 candidates was announced last week, but Chhotepur is still waiting to meet Kejriwal. Barely able to contain his bitterness on various issues, Chhotepur talked to assistant editor Chitleen K Sethi about an unstinting resolve not to harm the party.
How do you react to the second list of 14 candidates announced by the party?
Just as in the first list , I have some reservations on some candidates. I have added these to the things I have to discuss with Arvind Kejriwal.
You have been waiting for an audience with him for almost 15 days.
I have sent messages to him many times. It is for him to call for me.
What are your specific objections on the list of candidates? Do you agree that the two lists include mostly Sikh faces?
I cannot name the seats or candidates because it will harm them. But I agree that the first two lists are Sikh-dominated. In the future, we are hoping other castes and groups such as Bazigar, Kamboj, Balmiki, Rai Sikh and Majhabi Sikh, among others, will be represented.
You are not a member of the political affairs committee of the party which is taking the final decisions on the candidates.
AAP is a national party and the decision to include or exclude party members from various bodies is up to the top leadership. But, yes, I have in my over three decades of political life never come across a political affairs committee of a party that does not have the state convener in it.
Do you think you are being sidelined?
I am not being sidelined. I only want that those who have given their life to the party should not be ignored. There are those who sold their lands, houses, left jobs to work for the party. They worked from the beginning and helped set up this party using their own funds and resources. Today, they are nowhere, because some wrong decisions have been taken in distribution of tickets.
The AAP is filing a defamation suit against Paviter Singh, the national council member who levelled allegations of seeking money for a polls ticket against (state in-charge) Sanjay Singh and (organisation-building head) Durgesh Pathak.
I am totally against the move. Ours is a democratic set-up and everyone has the right to put forth whatever they want in public domain. If someone is unhappy, he can say it. Instead of alienating such people further, we should try to cajole them and make them work for the party’s good.