New Delhi: Growing fissures in the Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today came out in the open with the party cracking the whip by suspending two of its four MPs—Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa—from its primary membership for “anti-party activities”.
The party’s political affairs (PAC) committee, which includes Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, read the riot act after the two MPs attended a parallel function today. The committee referred their case to party’s national disciplinary action committee (DAC) for further action.
“With a clear intent of creating confusion among party volunteers and damaging the party, Gandhi and Khalsa today organised a conference, parallel to that of the Aam Aadmi Party, at Baba Bakala on the occasion of Rakhar Puniya. They used pictures of national convener Arvind Kejriwal and party MPs Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh to create confusion and help the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP. They used the party symbol and pictures of party leaders in the publicity material of their conference without due permission from the party,” the PAC said in its unanimous resolution.
The PAC reportedly expre-ssed concern over anti-party activities by the two MPs and their involvement with “certain outfits opposed to aims and objectives of the party. The only aim of these outfits is to damage the Aam Aadmi Party and the anti-corruption movement in the country”, the party said.
There had been several instances that showed that Gandhi and Khalsa were trying to establish a parallel organisation within the party with the sole objective of damaging it in Punjab, the party said.
“Gandhi and Khalsa have criticised the party leadership and the decisions taken by the party on several occasions in the media. Not only did Gandhi and Khalsa use the press to express their disagreement with the party on various issues, they also openly disobeyed the party on several occasions and refused to follow party discipline,” the PAC said.
The DAC, comprising Pankaj Gupta, Dilip Pandey and Deepak Bajpai, will look into the complaints of anti-party activities and indiscipline against the two MPs.
For the past few months, these MPs had been upset over the functioning of the state unit of the party and waging a war against state leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur. They also questioned the manner in which another party leader Daljit Singh was treated.
Harinder Khalsa told The Tribune that the function was organised by some volunteers. He accused the party of ignoring him and keeping him out of a conference organised in his constituency on August 15. “Today’s action proves this party is no different… and Arvind Kejriwal is of the same mould,” he said.
Swaraj Abhiyan led by the party’s expelled leaders, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, have condemned the duo’s suspension calling it yet another instance to “crush” dissenting voices within the AAP. The move is going to weaken the party and favour the “crime-politics” nexus in Punjab, observed Swaraj Abhiyan national convener Prof Anand Kumar.
What the party resolution says
- With a clear intent of creating confusion among party volunteers and damaging the party, Gandhi and Khalsa organised a conference, parallel to that of the Aam Aadmi Party, at Baba Bakala on the occasion of Rakhar Puniya
- They used pictures of national convener Arvind Kejriwal and party MPs Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh to create confusion and help the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP
- They used party symbol and pictures of party leaders in the publicity material of their conference without due permission from the party
I’m surprised, says Patiala MP Gandhi
I am surprised at the anti-party activity allegations. I was attending a meeting of about 5,000 party volunteers from 22 districts of Punjab who called me to discuss their grievances against the national and the state leadership. This meeting was held under the banner of AAP with Kejriwal’s picture on the banner. How they can term it anti-party activity and if they feel this way, that is their problem — Dharamvira Gandhi
Knew it was coming: Fatehgarh Sahib MP
I am not surprised as we had the apprehension of the party taking action against me and Dharamvira Gandhi as we had been working for the welfare of the people of our constituencies. The people of Punjab want to bring change in the state as they are fed up with the present political outfits, including the SAD, BJP and the Congress. I will continue to work for the people of my constituency and the state — Harinder Singh Khalsa