Fissures in AAP: Party’s Bathinda legal cell disbanded over indiscipline

  • Mohammad Ghazali, Hindustan Times, Mansa
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2016 15:18 IST
Advocate Gurlabh Singh Mahal (HT File Photo)

Two days after the Baisakhi mela, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has disbanded its Bathinda parliamentary constituency legal cell, which was headed by advocate Gurlabh Singh Mahal, over indiscipline.

According to a party insider, Mahal was miffed with a party colleague who had torn off posters of the party’s Baisakhi rally, which had his photos with AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.

“Mahal had complained to Vinod Watts, the sector observer for Maur, Talwandi Sabo and Bathinda (rural) assembly segments. A day before the Baisakhi rally, Mahal and Watts had a heated argument as the latter was reluctant to take action against the party worker who allegedly tore off the posters,” said the party worker. Following this, the legal cell was disbanded with immediate effect.

“There were complaints from the party volunteers against Mahal, after which he has been removed. It is an internal matter of the party and we have issued a show-cause notice to him,” said Romi Bhatti, AAP’s central election observer for Bathinda.

HT spoke to AAP Punjab women wing chief Baljinder Kaur, who confirmed a heated exchange took place between Mahal and Watts, after which Mahal was removed.

Mahal is one of the founding members of the district unit of the AAP and his expulsion has not gone down well with the party volunteers. “He is one of the frontrunners for the assembly ticket from Mansa and the way he has been expelled sets up a dangerous precedent in the party. Outsiders and ‘yes-men’ are being promoted. No show-cause notice was issued to Mahal,” said a party volunteer.

“Even if they wanted to act against Mahal, there was no point disbanding the legal cell,” said an agitated volunteer. Mahal and AAP’s state legal cell incharge Himmat Singh Shergill could not be reached for comment.

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