In his first visit to Punjab after the state Assembly polls, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday did not show any signs of loosening his grip over the party’s state unit. He, in fact, asked AAP workers to directly approach him with complaints if MLAs ignored their recommendations. While promising more power to workers, he said, “We will strengthen our party at the booth level. All decisions will be taken on the recommendations of ground workers. I have strictly told all the 20 MLAs that they should pay immediate attention to any recommendation or request made by workers. If an MLA doesn’t listen, a worker can directly approach me with the complaint and I will take action. We will not repeat the mistakes. Estranged workers and leaders will be brought back to the party.”
Kejriwal also asked party leaders and workers to start a movement against the newly formed Congress government in Punjab on issues like alleged irregularities in sand mining contracts. Addressing workers at a rally, he said, “We will not allow Congress government to relax. We will make Captain Amarinder Singh answerable on every promise he made during elections…A cook of Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh has got contract of sand mining. It shows nothing has changed. Just that Congress men have replaced Akalis….We will start indefinite dharna outside the official residence of Captain Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh if Rana Gurjit Singh is not asked to resign within a week,” said Kejriwal.
“There are some issues where we need to focus. We have to strengthen our organisation, so that we can initiate a movement against Congress government in the state. Captain Amrinder Singh had promised a government job for every home. There was a promise of loan waiver for farmers. Every youth had to be given a smartphone. And now there is a scam in sand mining contracts. We all need to focus on these issues and build a movement,” he added. Apologising for coming to Punjab “late” to pay his thanks to voters after the polls, Kejriwal said: “It is true that we were favourites and everyone assumed that we will win the elections. The results surprised everybody. But now…we have 20 MLAs in Punjab Assembly and we should use our capacity to serve people.”
Addressing Kejriwal from stage, MLA Sukhpal Singh Khera said, “One reason that the party couldn’t win was that we didn’t listen to our workers and decisions were taken by a few leaders. I want to assure you that I will not leave AAP. I will work for the party. And if workers are given powers, we can do magic in upcoming municipal corporation elections.” Meanwhile, newly appointed president of Punjab unit, Bhagwant Mann, told the gathering that the party would not allow any indiscipline.
“There will be a disciplinary committee and strict action will be taken against anyone even if someone used social media WhatsApp, Facebook etc to create any kind of indiscipline,” Mann said.