Three days after it emerged that he had recorded Arvind Kejriwal telling him to “break the Congress” before the dissolution of the Delhi Assembly in 2014, the AAP on Monday suspended former Rohini MLA Rajesh Garg from primary membership of the party for an entirely different reason — for breaking party discipline in the run-up to the Delhi elections, including allegedly “heckling senior leader Ashutosh” during a jan sabha.
AAP leaders said they had received a complaint in this regard in writing and maintained that it was just a coincidence that the suspension came after the sting emerged, which Garg then alleged had been leaked by senior leader Kumar Vishwas.
“There is a due process for these things. During the elections, these things were spoken, but there was no official complaint. Now that there has been one, the Delhi disciplinary committee has taken action in terms of suspension based on prima facie evidence. The decision has been taken because of continued anti-party activities. In the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections, there was an incident where Rajesh Garg misbehaved with senior AAP leader Ashutosh and heckled him. Ashutosh had to scale a wall to escape,” Dilip Pandey, AAP’s Delhi unit secretary, said.
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Leaders said the Delhi disciplinary committee include Satyendra Jain, Ashutosh and Atishi Marlena. “The suspension will be effective until further inquiry. The disciplinary committee will decide what has to be done with Garg,” Pandey said.
“The suspension will be effective until further inquiry. The disciplinary committee will decide what is to be done with Garg,” Pandey said.
In January, prior to the Assembly polls, Ashutosh had allegedly been heckled by a group led by Garg during a public meeting in Rohini. While Garg was among the 28 MLAs of the party in 2013, the AAP had given the Rohini ticket to Charanji Lal Gupta this time.
While Garg maintained that he had not received any official communication from the party on his suspension, he served a legal notice to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas for allegedly defaming him.
“Kumar Vishwas and some other party leaders have been saying things against me which are not true. I have served him a legal notice. I am waiting for Kejriwal to comment on the entire issue. Let the facts of the case emerge,” Garg said.
According to the legal notice, Garg had handed over the audio-recording to Vishwas “in the best interest” of the party, but Vishwas allegedly leaked it to defame Garg.
The notice further read that Vishwas “falsely alleged” that Garg was a “black-mailer and an opportunistic person” who “was also seeking a ticket for contesting the elections from Rohini”.
The notice also points to Vishwas’s tweet on March 11 — “Mr failed conspirator Rajesh Garg ji, I had forwarded the audio clip to the party the same day you tried to black me with the same. That was when you tried to exchange a Vidhan Sabha Ticket with this audio… remember? Denied a ticket, u r free to do whatever you wish”.
This is the second time that the AAP has taken such action against a party leader. Early last year, the party had expelled its Laxmi Nagar MLA Vinod Kumar Binny for indulging in “anti-party activities”. Binny later joined the BJP and contested the polls from Patparganj against Manish Sisodia.