Former convenor of Punjab unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Gurpreet Singh Waraich, on Wednesday resigned from the primary membership of the party citing the unfair selection process adopted to appoint the new convenor, Bhagwant Mann. Addressing a press conference, Waraich said that the manner in which Mann had been chosen smacked of a “pick and choose” policy in which the sentiments of the cadre of the party had been ignored.
“This was an act of cheating with the state of Punjab, Punjabis and Punjabiat. Is it not necessary to know what the volunteers want to say? They should have been included in the selection process,” he said adding that AAP was deviating from its principles.
Waraich said that his opposition to the appointment Mann was not about him individually but about the manner in which it was done. “Arvind could have called me to his house and told me that he wanted to remove me. It was common knowledge that Bhagwant Mann had got posters and stickers of AAP removed from outside his house. He had made public statements saying that all options are open for him and that he is going to USA. After all this there was no need to have taken this decision in a hurried way. It seems that there was some pressure to act like this,” he said.
Without naming Kejriwal, Waraich said that the AAP leadership’s problems with him had begun when he told them during the election campaign that that there have been have been major complaints against the observers sent from Delhi and they should be recalled. “Also, a convenor I kept asking the party leaders in Delhi to show me the video on basis of which Sucha Singh Chottepur had been thrown out of the party. Till day before yesterday I was not shown the CD. This was my right that it should be shown to me,” he said.
Gurpreet Waraich also said that the AAP leadership was miffed with him because be refused to come to Delhi and campaign for the municipal corporation elections in Rajouri Garden. “I had asked why Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak could not come to Punjab after losing the elections to boost the morale of the workers. I was told they will come after MCD elections but they did not and my protest continued over this, he added.
Accusing AAP of having closed its doors to “big leaders’ who could have done well for the party, Waraich said that he tried to bring good leaders into the fold but his attempts were met with resistance. Without naming Local Bodies Minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu, he said, “I have been organising meetings of very big leaders who are today in other parties and are now ministers. I have proof of it. But they closed doors for all good people,” he said.
Commenting on the various options available to replace him, he said that he had suggested that suspended Patiala MP, Dr Dharamvir Gandhi should be made convenor. “I had said that he is a wise man, a man of principles and that he will do good for the party. I had also said that his selection would have helped clear the doubts that the party works for a particular community,” he said.
Waraich also said that he had recommended the name of Bholath MLA, Sukhpal Singh Khaira saying that he is a politically matured person and “he faces no allegations like the ones about present state unit chief”. ‘If even is he was not to be made then the last choice was Phoolka sahib. At least he knows something about politics. Mann already wields more power than convenor,” he said.
Gurpreet said that now he was being forced to work under a man whom the party has appointed with a rider that he should quit drinking liquor and that he also concedes that he should be removed if he does that again. “This is not a mature decision. If you wanted to tell him all this it should have been done in private but it was not to have been said in public among 50 people,” he said.