Coup in AAP Punjab: 7 Lok Sabha candidates are now ‘Rebels’
Over the last three years, AAP had become the gathering place for everyone who did not find favours with BJP or Congress. Surging AAP popularity also drove a number of opportunists to is fold. But this meant that despite Kejriwal attempt to have dictatorial control on the party, AAP is finding it difficult to keep its flock intact.
Of the 13 Punjab Lok Sabha candidates who contested the 2014 polls on the party ticket, seven have ‘rebelled’, including two MPs. This has temporarily derailed the AAP campaign in Punjab, which just a few months ago made the poll victory seem a mere formality.
While some of them were expelled, Chhotepur was recently sacked from the post of Punjab convener, and the MPs and Bhai Baldeep Singh were suspended for “anti-party activities”. All of them, however, have raised their voice against party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Some of the ‘rebels’ are now sympathising with Chhotepur, however, they believe that, as one of them puts it, “getting a taste of his own medicine”. They have also accused “Dilliwale” Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak of being ‘puppeteers’ in Punjab and accused Kejriwal of having little faith in Punjab leadership.
Bhai Baldeep Singh, who was the first to be suspended in April last year, said, “I never though that a satirical remark of Parkash Singh Badal that ‘AAP will soon burst like a balloon’, would come true. AAP has thrown itself into crisis by snubbing dissent.” He was suspended for questioning action against Professor Manjit, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. “Whatever has happened with Chhotepur is unfortunate but he was part of all the party’s wrong decisions. He never took a stand for me or others.”
Jyoti Mann was soon expelled after she posted on Facebook against party’s decision to remove Yadav and Bhushan.
Next in the firing line was ophthalmologist Dr Daljit Singh. Expelled in July last, he was then the chief of party’s disciplinary committee. “The party state executive had passed resolution that Chhotepur be removed as state convener. But Sanjay Singh backed him and he was saved. When I opposed this one-man show, I too was removed from the way,” he said. “I am glad to have moved on.”
In August 2015 MP Gandhi was suspended for questioning party action against Yadav and Bhushan and for attending a parallel rally at Rakhra Punia organised by ‘volunteers’. MP Khalsa too was suspended for attending the rally. The duo had earlier dared the party to expel them.
“I had spoken against Pathak (Durgesh) and Sanjay Singh because they were instigating AAP workers to burn my effigies,” said Khalsa. “ I am particularly shocked over (senior SC lawyer and AAP leader) HS Phoolka’s attitude. He maintained silence when we were suspended and now he is doing same with Chhotepur. Phoolka thinks he is invincible. Chhotepur too thought the same. Phoolka is blinded by self-interest as of now, the day he utters a word against the high command, he will see none is invincible.”
Phoolka, when contacted, cited his ‘own compulsions’ for being silent on party affairs.
Jassi Jasraj was expelled in April this year after he spoke against Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann and Chhotepur