The suspension from the party has failed to deter the rebel in MPs Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, as both have decided to stay in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and fight from within to revive its original ideology.
The party volunteers, however, are angry with Punjab AAP convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur and other senior leaders, and have decided to make a new platform within the AAP to challenge the central leadership. Dr Gandhi and Khalsa claim to have received no email or other communication, so far, from the party office about their suspension or any show-cause notice. "I will reply to the show-cause notice surely, as it's an opportunity to put forth the issues that volunteers want addressed. I will tell them I am in this fight not for personal gains but to revive the party's original ideology. Punjabis are ready to give us a chance to form the government but our Delhi leadership isn't," said Dr Gandhi.
'Chhotepur, Sanjay incapable leaders'
Replying to a question, Dr Gandhi said that he would not join any other party, "as I am wedded to the ideology of Swaraj, which took me to Parliament". "I am a fighter and will continue to fight from within the party to force the AAP leadership to come back to the original ideology of Sawraj," the Patiala MP added. He said people wanted capable leaders and the present AAP leadership in Punjab was incapable. "Chhotepur and Sanjay Singh can't take on the corrupt Akali-BJP regime. Chhotepur, an Akali himself, has doubtful integrity. No one except Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress likes him, since like the Akalis, Amarinder knows that Chhotepur can pose him no threat," he said.
"We can't allow the corrupt Akali-BJP and the tainted Congress leaders to take advantage of the situation. If the party expels me, I will continue my support to the right candidates in Punjab and will canvass for them in 2017. I will reciprocate to volunteers who have worked for the party, and toil for their chance to form the government. I won't let the so-called high-command ruin their future," Dr Gandhi said.
Fatehgarh Sahib MP Khalsa said people from all over the country and abroad had called him up to welcome his stand on the issue. "Why should Delhi lead the Punjab unit, when we have our own volunteers; and when Punjab has given the party all its four MPs? Kejriwal and company should give Punjabis the autonomy to decide their leader. I won't budge until a way is paved for the AAP government in Punjab in 2017," he said.
He said the AAP central leadership was ruining party's chances in 2017. He says he will continue to play his role in Parliament and nurture his constituency, but won't support Chhotepur and "the so-called high command". Many AAP volunteers on Sunday gathered around the two suspended MPs.