The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has restructured its unit in Punjab in preparation for the 2017 assembly elections, didn’t consult any of its four MPs from the state, who are also its only representation in Parliament.
Patiala’s Dr Dharamvira Gandhi; Fatehgarh Sahib’s Harinder Singh Khalsa, Faridkot’s professor Sadhu Singh; and Sangrur’s Bhagwant Mann — party’s saving grace in the last Lok Sabha elections and its only elected leaders in the state — were sidelined when the fight is against the experienced Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress. No surprise that they are dissatisfied by the new structure and calling it a product of haste to grab political posts.
Together represent 36 assembly segments
These MPs represent more than 36 assembly constituencies; and keeping them away from strategic meetings may cost the AAP. Since the move, Dr Gandhi and Khalsa have had closed-door meeting here, in which they are reported to have teleconferenced with Mann and Sadhu Singh to regroup against the central and state leaderships.
The party has appointed Sucha Singh Chhotepur its state convener again, even after the state executive committee that includes the four MPs had passed a resolution against it in New Delhi on May 9. “Non-entities in the party are taking decision on its restructuring. Not even a single MP has been consulted before such an important decision,” said Khalsa, adding: “Nobody will vote for Sanjay Singh, and the whole world knows the trait of Chhotepur. Then who are they to decide?”
Khalsa wondered how the party’s future was going to change with decision-making power in the hands of Sanjay Singh, state political affairs in-charge in AAP. “I don’t even know his profile. He is a non-entity even in Delhi, who behaves like the CM of Punjab,” he said. Agreeing with his colleague, Dr Gandhi said people such as Chhotepur could only bring bad name to the party.
“The central leaders named by Khalsa have hijacked the state unit and are not at all serious about the elections. How can they ignore the MPs who look after 36 assembly segments! They have zero knowledge of Punjab, its people, issues, and mindset.”
“Look who got plum posts — doubtful people involved in anti-party activities,” said the Patiala MP. “They were chosen over those working for the party since its India Against Corruption (IAC) days.”
Reacting to the development, Chhotepur said the central leadership had taken the entire decision. “I am working with the team it announced,” he claimed.