Deploring the Aam Aadmi Party’s move to expel Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur over a sting video allegedly showing him accepting money, party leader Dr Dharamvira Gandhi on Friday alleged that the sting operation was done to defame him before his expulsion.
“This is a party of a dictator – of a single person known as Kejriwal, and it is clear that the sting operation was done intentionally, which is a design to defame him before expelling him from the party,” Gandhi told ANI.
“This is a wrong tradition in the party. You would hardly have seen a party that conducted a sting operation against its own convener. I strongly deplore and protest against it. They are getting stings conducted against their own leaders in Punjab, earlier it had happened in Delhi as well. I have never seen such distrust in any party,” he added.
Alleging that the Punjab convener was intentionally framed into it, Gandhi said, “I don’t say he would have not accepted the money, but he also receives money for the party’s expenses. People give money (to the party) and he accepts that as per the party’s culture. There are no receipts, balance sheets or a treasurer in the party, thus, everybody is responsible for it. If Sucha Singh is guilty, then Durgesh, Sanjay and Delhi leaderships are more at fault. None of the AAP leaders, especially Delhi’s (central) leaders, have ever clarified on how much fund they receive from where.”
“They have never issued receipts for the received funds, or maintained a balance sheet, or opened an account, and there is no treasurer as well. The charges against Chhotepur are small as compared to huge transactions that take place in Punjab, which even children know,” he said.
Stating that he is not levelling allegations against any individual, he said, “I am accusing top leadership of the party for exploiting and plundering Punjab in the name of seats and party positions. They have crossed all limits.”
“Besides, the AAP’s policy of the central leadership, especially of the league comprising Arvind Kejriwal, Durgesh and Sanjay Singh, their policy is ‘use and throw’ and ‘destroy’. They don’t just use a person, but they also throw and destroy him, whether he is Prashantji, Gandhi or Dr Daljit Singh. They have behaved in the same manner with all of them, which is a very wrong tradition for any political party,” said Gandhi, who recently launched a new front for “alternative politics”.
“If somebody says that Sanjay, Durgesh and Succha are bad and Kejriwal is good and honest, he doesn’t know anything. I am not at all ready to believe in such things. Because the focal point of all of them is Kejriwal, without whose permission and nod not even a leaf can move. Those who think Kejriwal is innocent, they are in the dark, because they don’t know Kejriwal is standing at the lowest rung and doesn’t have understanding of politics,” said Gandhi.
When asked about AAP’s poll prospects in Punjab, he said their popularity graph had gone down after January 13 ‘mela’ in Muktsar.
“There are so many reasons for that; including, featuring a broom alongside Darbar Sahib and to compare their manifesto with Guru Granth Sahib, Gita, Bible or Quran. Moreover, the two lists of candidates issued by the party clearly show that people having disputed political past and those who joined the party recently, have been preferred over party workers working dedicatedly for the past many years,” he added.
The AAP Political Affairs Committee (PAC) is likely to meet at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence today to take a final call on Chhotepur’s removal.
AAP national convener and the party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Kejriwal has apparently refused to meet Chhotepur and asked him to file his clarification before the party’s Punjab state committee. Sources said the Punjab State Committee has written to Kejriwal recommending Chhotepur’s removal.
However, Chhotepur, in a tweet, said he had expressed reservations on the last two lists of AAP candidates announced for the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab and wanted to meet Kejriwal in this regard.
Later, in a statement issued on Thursday, he said he would be holding a press conference on Friday to reveal the truth before the people of Punjab. “I have been working day and night to strengthen this party but some of my party colleagues are trying to tarnish my image by levelling false and baseless allegations. I will be holding a press conference in this connection to bring out the truth before the people of Punjab,” he said.
Chhotepur had earlier dared the AAP leadership to make a video clip of him accepting money to prove that it was corruption.