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AAP meet today to introspect Punjab polls loss, may name new state chief

All 20 MLAs, two MPs – Sadhu Singh and Bhagwant Mann —and other office-bearers of the party will attend the meeting.

punjab Updated: May 08, 2017 11:52 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times
Aam Aadmi Party,Punjab assembly polls,Arvind Kejriwal
AAP Punjab convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich(HT File Photo)

Eight weeks after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lost Punjab assembly polls, party national convener Arvind Kejriwal will meet state leaders at his house in New Delhi on Monday as a part of introspection exercise to analyse reasons for the poor performance and come up with a strategy on how to move forward in the state. The party is also expected to name the new convener for Punjab. The meeting is expected to begin at 12 noon.

All 20 MLAs, two MPs – Sadhu Singh and Bhagwant Mann —and other office-bearers of the party will attend the meeting, which is likely to be a stormy affair as Punjab leaders and NRIs, who supported the party during polls, have blamed the central leadership for the defeat.

After the election results, NRIs wrote to Kejriwal giving him a May 9 deadline to give reasons for the defeat and also sought removal of two “outsiders” – Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh and co-incharge Durgesh Pathak. As a course correction, both Sanjay and Durgesh resigned from their respective party posts on April 27, a day after the party was routed in the Delhi municipal polls. But NRIs and Punjab leaders wanted more heads to roll and also demanded action against the duo.

Even as Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann name is doing the rounds for the Punjab convener’s post, NRIs and other party leaders are opposed to it due to Mann’s drinking habit and his “narcissist” behaviour. Party’s youth overseas convener Joban Randhawa said: “There are better alternatives than Bhagwant Mann to lead party in Punjab.”

Party insiders say the leadership might not take the final decision on Monday as it is likely to consult officer-bearers and elected representatives before appointing the Punjab convener. “We would introspect and draw up the future strategy,” said leader of Opposition in the Punjab assembly HS Phoolka. He, however, refused to comment on appointing the new convener for Punjab.

“I will speak up if my opinion is solicited,” said Sanjay Singh, adding that he wouldn’t attend the meeting. “Even if the best person takes over as the convener, it’s going to be a tough task in the wake of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, civic body and panchayat polls,” said a party leader.

However, charges of corruption against Kejriwal for accepting ₹2 crore might overshadow the Punjab meeting.

First Published: May 08, 2017 08:43 IST