AAP crisis: Dissidents form panel to ‘review mistakes behind 2017 poll debacle’

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the PAC held here on Friday after it was formed in the aftermath of the August 2 Bathinda volunteers’ convention.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Published: August 11, 2018 2:20:37 pm
AAP crisis: Dissidents form panel to ‘review mistakes behind 2017 poll debacle’ Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira said that a review of the mistakes of 2017 Assembly polls was important so that they are not repeated. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh/File)

The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the dissident AAP MLAs has formed a three-member committee to review the “reasons and mistakes behind the 2017 assembly polls debacle” in which the party could only manage 20 seats.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the PAC held here on Friday after it was formed in the aftermath of the August 2 Bathinda volunteers’ convention. Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu has been appointed as chairperson of the review committee while Mansa MLA Nazar Singh Manshahia has been appointed as convenor and party volunteer Deepak Bansal as member. The committee will submit report within 45 days.

Speaking to mediapersons after the PAC meeting, Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira said that a review of the mistakes of 2017 Assembly polls was important so that they are not repeated. People across Punjab can come and give evidence regarding errors made during the election time this to the three-member committee, he said.

“No one has tried to find out the reasons for the defeat and no review was undertaken even after one-and-a-half years of the polls. In January 2016, we were at our peak, but by the time February 2017 polls took place, there was a sharp drop,” said Khaira.

In another decision, the PAC has appointed observers for all districts of Punjab. “Workers have been saying that they should be given directions. The districts have been divided between the members of the PAC. Within the next week to 10 days, these people will reach out to volunteers on ground in Punjab, especially those who had given up on the party,” Khaira said.

Asked about the recommendation made in a state-level AAP meeting to the Delhi leadership for taking action against him and Kanwar Sandhu, Khaira said they could not stop anyone from taking any action. “They must, however, keep in mind that any action taken against us will be presumed to be action taken against all party volunteers of Punjab. But if they want to marginalise us like this, then I have nothing to say,” he said.

Not ruling out talks with the Delhi leadership or the other faction of AAP in Punkab, Khaira said, “We welcome any talks. We believe in democratic values. If the senior leaders of our party are willing to accept that a new organisational structure has to be set up, then they can talk with us,” he said.

Khaira, however, said that the post of co-president, that Dr Balbir Singh holds, has been dissolved in Bathinda convention. “There is no position of co-president in constitution of the party also,” he said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the PAC members met the Punjab Governor in the evening and submitted a memorandum demanding that the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission of Inquiry Report should be made public with immediate effect. The memorandum says that the government must arrest with immediate effect the police officers named by the Commission as well as the prominent members of a “dera”, whose names figure in the SIT Report. The other demands include appointing a special and fast-track court to deal with specific sacrilege cases and also the Behbal Kalan police firing case.

Kejriwal’s stand on SYL rejected

The dissident MLAs have rejected the statement of Arvind Kejriwal in Rohtak Thursday that he would welcome the decision of Supreme Court (SC) on the SYL canal issue because till now parties had been doing politics over the issue. “This is exactly why we are demanding autonomy for Punjab. Who will look at issues from Punjab’s side so that our interests should not be compromised. We will not accept any anti-Punjab decision on SYL,” said Khaira.

Kanwar Sandhu said that given the manner in which the case has been framed in SC, it was quite certain that the verdict would be against Punjab. “Therefore, it is needed that a fresh review petition should be filed in the SC,” he said.

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