An audio clip, purportedly a telephone conversation between Patiala MP Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, seemed to indicate that Mann too was unhappy with the way the state unit was being handled.
The four-minute long audio clip that went viral on social media on Sunday has a voice, purportedly Mann’s, criticising the party high command for not allowing elected representatives to choose their own teams, and the state convenor Sucha Singh Chottepur for wanting to issue party tickets without consulting anyone in the party.
Mann is alleged to have said in the clip that the high command is being told local MPs were “good for nothing”. The voice also claims that “Punjab is not Delhi where the party could win elections with ease.”
The voice alleges that the party won elections not just because of the broom symbol but on the basis of the personality in their respective constituencies.
“They say Dr. Gandhi could not win Patiala byelection. They also say Bhagwant Mann keeps cracking jokes. We have won elections because we have a personality. I am a celebrity for last 20 years. People in Punjab are not like that of Delhi who vote a party. Here they choose people, “ the voice, purportedly of Mann’s, is heard saying.
There has been no confirmation or denial from Mann on the issue till the filing of this report. Dr Gandhi, however, told The Indian Express that it was a personal conversation between him and Mann. “It was around the time when Kejriwal took oath as Delhi CM for the second time. He was proposing we, including Faridkot MP, meet AAP leader Sanjay Singh to discuss the issue of federalism and autonomy.”
Mann’s voice is heard criticising Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa and Ludhiana candidate HS Phoolka.
Dr. Gandhi said that he had not recorded the conversation but it appeared to have been done by some intelligence agencies who were “tapping conversations” between representatives of opposition parties. “I am a man of integrity. I would never record any conversation like that. It could be the handiwork of those people who were being criticised by Mann,” he said.
Dr. Gandhi said he was disappointed that Mann is supporting the very same people who he first criticised. He said that there was however nothing wrong in what Mann appears to have said.
Mann’s spokesperson said that as Dr Gandhi had already told the media that there was nothing wrong in what Mann had said, they also wanted to stick to the same stand.
Chhottepur said that he had not heard the clip but he did not want to say anything against anyone. He refused to reveal on whether he would complain to the party high command or not.