In a jolt to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), volunteers from 22 districts have announced separation from the party and formed the Aam Aadmi Volunteers Front Punjab on Sunday. The front decided to contest upcoming state assembly elections in 2017.
Party’s suspended Member of Parliaments (MPs), Dharamvira Gandhi from Patiala and Harinder Singh Khalsa from Fatehgarh Sahib, senior leader and former AAP Punjab convener Sumel Singh Sidhu, also lent their support to the front.
Front members Sumit Singh Bhullar from Amritsar, Pranabh Rai from Jalandhar, Sukhwinder Singh Kahlon from Gurdaspur, Amandeep Kaur from Ferozepur, Jyoti Saini from Patiala and 200 other volunteers took part in the meeting.
Representatives from six district units from Himachal Pradesh also held talks with them to chalk out a strategy for three hours at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall.
Earlier, the media was barred from entering the meeting and later volunteers accorded permission on the advice of senior leaders in a meeting.
Addressing the meeting, volunteers squarely blamed ‘Delhi leadership’ for adopting step motherly attitude towards volunteers in Punjab and sidelining them by bringing leaders from other parties.
Volunteers claimed that the AAP leadership has deviated from the ideals and principles of the party and claimed that the front would provide voice to the people.
They said sycophants in Delhi do not know about the ground reality in Punjab.
They claimed that the party got huge victory in Punjab and Delhi during the general elections, but now it has drifted away from its goals.
They accused the Delhi leadership of stifling the ideologies and running the party in an arbitrary manner.
Later, addressing the media after meeting, Sukhwinder Singh Kahlon from Gurdaspur said that the front will go to each district and engage new volunteers so that an alternative platform can be given to people in the assembly elections.
Revealing about front’s organisational structure, Kahlon said that 25-member state committee, 11-member state executive and 101-member state council would be formed within a week and similar structure would be set up at the district and block-level.
“We are separate from the AAP and our front would contest elections,” claimed Sumit Singh Bhullar and added that another meeting of a front will be held on October 30 in Amritsar to discuss future strategy.