Two days after he was warned against speaking up in public against the party leadership, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP from Patiala Dharamveer Gandhi on Friday said his party was playing a “dangerous game” by supporting the protest by radical Sikhs for the premature release of militants.
“It will be a disaster for Punjab if AAP, chosen as an alternative by the people of state, plays into the hands of certain hardliners. After all, the state recovered from the troubled days of militancy with such difficulty,” Gandhi said.
He, however, added he had no evidence to prove that AAP leaders were pitching in for the release of militants. “I have read media reports. We do not want to go down that road again. We have suffered enough in the past,” he said.
AAP state convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur had recently visited Sikh activist Surat Singh Khalsa, who has been on a hunger strike since January seeking the release of Sikh prisoners. Yogendra Yadav, too, had endorsed Khalsa’s protest.
Gandhi said he would not stop airing his grievances against the party even if he is sacked. “I do not want to be part of this decline of the team that had promised a clean governance to the people. Look at the way the decadence has already set in. As many as five MLAs have been booked in different cases and as per media reports more MLAs will be named accused. Is this what we stood for? I do not bother about any warnings. I cannot betray the people who voted for me.”
Responding to the warning issued by Chhotepur, he said, “(AAP national convenor Arvind) Kejriwal never came to support me in Patiala, while he addressed five rallies for Chhotepur. Why didn’t Chhotepur win if Kejriwal was so important? This is my answer to Chhotepur when he says I was elected only because I was a member of the AAP.” The Patiala MP said, “The top leadership of AAP is dictatorial, making the outfit undemocratic and autocratic… They are becoming like other political parties that will do anything to win elections.”