Breaking his silence on the audio tape controversy, Aam Aadmi Party star campaigner and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann on Monday admitted that the leaked tape contains his voice but added that he is ‘loyal to party and party convener Arvind Kejriwal”.
In a reprieve to Mann, AAP’s Punjab affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh gave him a clean chit in the controversy and said it (tape row) was a non-issue for the party. He said Bhagwant Mann was working very hard for the progress of the party in the state.
The Sangrur MP, on his part, pinned blamed on parties that feared the AAP and its rising popularity among the masses.
“It’s an act of dirty politics. It’s the frustration of some leaders that has come to the fore. Those who are afraid of AAP’s rise are indulging in these dirty games,” claimed Mann. “In the (taped) conversation, I have said nothing objectionable against the party leadership or Kejriwal. I’ve only asked Dr (Dharamvira) Gandhi to brief the leadership about the state of AAP affairs in Punjab,” he added.
“Let me clear to all, it was a routine talk, which has been blown out of proportion to damage the party’s prospects in Punjab. “I am not doing any antiparty activity. I am just asking Dr Gandhi to take up factionalism in the party unit with the Delhi leadership”, said Mannm adding that “I am not asking Dr Gandhi to hold parallel rallies, which is an anti party activity”.
Mann, however, indirectly blamed suspended Patiala MP Dr Gandhi for the audio leak. “The timing (of leak) itself gives a clear indication. I have not leaked it. Ask Dr Gandhi about it,” he claimed.
AAP’s Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh alleged that the NDA government was tapping phones of AAP MPs and its leaders. “Our party delegation will take up the matter with the speaker,” he said.
Training guns on Mann, another suspended party MP Harinder Singh Khalsa said: “His real face and double standards have been exposed. Mann has mortgaged the interest of AAP volunteers for personal gains”. He asked Mann to come out clean on the issue.