The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is headed for a split in Punjab, as two of its four MPs, Harinder Singh Khalsa and Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, are going to skip its Rakhar Puniya conference at Baba Bakala for a volunteer meet organised by sacked Amritsar leader Dr Daljit Singh.
Party's state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur had threatened to throw out whoever attends the parallel rally at Baba Bakala. Even when the threat is backed by the Delhi-based leadership, Dr Gandhi and Khalsa have decided to defy him. They told HT they were going to the doctor's event and there was no stopping them.
"If the party can throw out leaders such as Dr Daljit Singh, then I have no regret in saying that it should be thrown out of Punjab," said Harinder Khalsa. "Dr Daljit Singh and his volunteers are the real AAP in Punjab, not Akali turncoats such as Chhotepur," said Khalsa, who himself was Akali MP from Bathinda from 1996 to 1998.
"Tell me what social standing does Chhotepur have. He is a useless leader, who is working against the party," said Khalsa, who threatened Sanjay Singh and other central party leaders with consequences, if they acted against any leader or volunteer. "Some anti-party forces might have sacked Dr Daljit Singh, but common volunteers are still with him, and we are going to them, for we don't use and throw people like the Delhi leadership is doing," said Khalsa.
Khalsa and Dr Gandhi have both upped the ante against the Delhi leadership and Chhotepur. While Dr Gandhi had attended the programme of sacked AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Parshant Bhushan, Khalsa is criticizing Sanjay Singh and other leaders openly over their interfering in the working of the Punjab unit.
Fatehgarh Sahib MP Khalsa said the Delhi leadership and Chhotepur had kept him out of a rally at Issru in his own constituency. "They threw me a challenge. I accept it. I am not power hungry. I fight for principles and grassroots workers," he added
'Kejriwal not acceptable'
Claiming that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was not acceptable as a leader to the AAP stakeholders in Punjab, Khalsa said "his hidden agenda is coming out". "The Punjab unit has a parachute leader, that's why we ignore the state leadership. It's a fight for the party's freedom from Akali sympathisers, Congress promoters, and rich people who thrive at the cost of volunteers," said the MP.
Dr Gandhi said volunteers had invited him and he couldn't break their heart. "What I am today is because of them, so I am going to tell that I will fight for them and for the revival of the AAP in Punjab," he added. At Amritsar, Chhotepur had announced that the AAP would hold just one rally and participants in any parallel rally would be expelled as rebels.