AAM AADMI Party (AAP) national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday held a meeting in the Capital with the senior leadership of Punjab unit of the party in which the disastrous performance of the party in the recent Gurdaspur by-election and the infighting within the party came up for discussion. The party’s state unit president and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira and state co-president Aman Arora were present in the stormy meeting with Kejriwal in New Delhi today. Sources within the party said that the national convenor expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of the party in the Gurdaspur by-poll, where the AAP candidate lost his deposit, and also asked the Punjab leadership to get its act together and put the party organisation in the state back on track.
A senior AAP leader, who did not wish to be named, informed that Kejriwal was upset over reports that there were differences in opinion among the party’s top three leaders in the state and urged them to recouncile these and work for the betterment of the party. All three leaders – Mann, Khaira and Arora – are learnt to have openly discussed certain contentious issues with Kejriwal, including misgivings about each other. “All three have been told to sink their differences and work together as the forthcoming Municipal Elections were going to be a major test of popularity of the party and a poor performance in it was not acceptable,” said the senior AAP leader.
The discord between AAP’s senior leadership in the state has evident for a while. Senior leader and Dakha MLA H S Phoolka did not campaign at all in the Gurdaspur bypoll and also did not take part in any party demonstration or meeting called in Chandigarh. en Bhagwant Mann and Sukhpal Khaira. A complete overhaul of the party’s leadership at the district levels is also on the cards as a senior leader told Kejriwal that faulty district-level appointments and incorrect allocation of tickets in the Majha zone during Punjab assembly polls had weakened the party.