The induction of Harmail Singh Tohra has opened more fault lines in the Aam Aadmi Party.
Senior leader Kanwar Sandhu, who was averse to sacking Sucha Singh Chhotepur as state party convener, says the entry of the son-in-law of late Akali stalwart Gurcharan Singh Tohra is hasty and he would have objected to it, had he known about his alleged involvement in the murderous attack on now Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi in the 2014 elections.
Here’s what Sandhu said on Facebook:
When Akali councillor Rajinder Singh Virk was released on bail after arrest in the attack case, Harmail Singh Tohra had received him outside the Patiala jail. “Now before we consider him for candidature, Harmail should apologise publicly for his role in the attack and prove he is committed to the AAP,” said Sandhu. “We need to be careful about whom we induct,” is how he reacted to the pictures of Harmail’s garlanding Virk, which Dr Gandhi had put on the social media.
The assault had come on the polling day in 2014. Posting the pictures, Dr Gandhi had said: “It is the same Harmail Singh Tohra who instigated the Akali goons to break my nose and later garlanded them. What do the AAP-bhakts have to say?”.
Below is what he posted on Facebook:
“I don’t want to comment more,” Dr Gandhi said now. “It’s a waste of time to speak of the AAP, as its leadership has deviated from the original ideology. But one thing is clear, that it is no more the hope of Punjabis.”
Suspended AAP leader Jassi Jasraj had also shared this picture and questioned the AAP’s doing a U-turn on Harmail Singh Tohra. Reacting to the outburst from Sandhu, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said it was the party’s “internal matter that it will discuss within”.
Reacting to the ongoing controversies in the AAP, Kanwar Sandhu agreed that the party is in the midst of crisis. “I am flooded with calls and messages asking people like me to ‘do something’”, he posted on the social media, seeking suggestions.
Another group unhappy with Harmail’s joining the AAP is the Tohra village panchayat, which has accused him of selling the name of Akali stalwart Gurcharan Singh Tohra for political benefits. “Harmail is not a true legacy holder of late Akali leader. Gurcharan Singh Tohra belonged to the Panth, while Harmail committed a sin by joining a party that ordered the demolition of a gurdwara (piao) in Delhi,” said Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Satwinder Tohra, supported by the panchayat. The Tohra villagers also had a meeting to oppose AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal..