Patiala: Trouble continues within the Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit. It has now landed in a fresh controversy with an audio clip allegedly of Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann criticising the party leadership going viral.
The four-minute conversation between Mann and AAP’s suspended Patiala Member Parliament Dr Dharamvira Gandhi dates back to the eve of the oath-taking ceremony of party convener Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi Chief Minister.
The circulation of the audio clip on the social media has created ripples in the political circles in the wake of the fact that Mann, a confidant of Kejriwal, is “openly criticising” the party leadership.
Mann has allegedly levelled accusations on certain party leaders, including HS Phoolka, Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Harinder Singh Khalsa, besides others. He has also expressed his “resentment” over the functioning of the party’s central leadership.
Mann is heard saying that winning elections in Punjab is not as easy as New Delhi and rather than forcing their own choices over Punjab leaders, the central leadership needs to give power to state MPs for selecting their own team to set things right in Punjab, which is marred by misgovernance.
Mann also denied any AAP impact in Punjab saying that unlike Delhi where people simply cast their votes in the name of the party without even knowing the candidates, elections in Punjab were personality-based. “We have won the elections based on own individual personalities. Had it not been the case, all party candidates would have won the elections in Punjab,” he had said.
Mann had even advised Dr Gandhi that they along with Prof Sadhu Singh would sit together and discuss the issue of giving autonomy to Punjab with party’s senior leader Sanjay Singh after the ceremony. He refused to take Khalsa in the loop saying that he was Phoolka’s man.
To make the matters worse, Dr Gandhi has authenticated the conversation saying that it was a seven-month-old talk between him and Sangrur MP. He, however, maintained that he had not recorded the conversation and it might be some government agency or a third person who leaked the tape to take advantage of the prevailing political crisis in AAP.
The Patiala MP claimed: “Bhagwant Mann had supported my fight for autonomy to the Punjab unit. I fail to understand why is he silent now. I am sure that the leadership must have promised him something. It is sad that Mann who claimed to have chosen Punjab over his personal life at the time of filing his divorce is now working against the interests of its people. I won’t keep quiet and bend before the dictatorial attitude of Arvind Kejriwal.”
The Sangrur MPcould not be contacted despite repeated attempts.