On his second tour to Punjab since Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) suspended its two MPs for “anti-party activities”, party’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal has yet not tried to reach out to Patiala MP Dr Dharamvir Gandhi and Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa for “reconciliation talks”.
AAP had suspended the two MPs in August last after they had attended a rally organised by sacked disciplinary committee chief Dr Daljit Singh at the Rakhar Puniya fair in Baba Bakala in Amritsar. Though the duo were issued showcause notices, they were not expelled.
On Thursday, as Kejriwal reached Punjab, the suspended MPs dared him to either speak to them if he believed in democracy or expel them without a hearing. “Either expel us or revoke suspension orders. Let a final decision be taken and end the unnecessary tiff end,” he added.
Accusing Kejriwal of doublespeak and having a dictatorial attitude, the MPs said “on the one hand AAP leaders like Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Sanjay Singh have issued statements welcoming back suspended MPs, on the other hand, Kejriwal has not even given them a chance to present their side since suspension”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Patiala MP Gandhi said, “There has been no invite for talks as of now. Chhotepur says in the media that he wants suspended MPs back and that AAP should be united. But this is not what it looks like. It is for second time Kejriwal is in Punjab but he has not made any effort to contact us. AAP, like any other party, has no agenda as of now on how they are going to tackle farmer suicides, drugs, agriculture issues and industrial problems in Punjab. Meeting people is not going to solve any problem. Kejriwal is again fishing in troubled waters here, as he did in October when sacrilege incidents had happened. It is the leaders of Punjab who need power to take a decision for 2017 but he is taking affairs in his own hands.”
Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa said AAP is intentionally ignoring them.
“Give statements in media that you want us back but do not approach us even once. This is hypocrisy by Kejriwal and his team. He can come to Punjab to meet people but cannot spare an hour for his own MPs who led AAP to crucial victory in 2014. He avoids me because I ask uncomfortable questions. I dare Kejriwal to expel us now. Six months is too long a time and we have not even been given a single chance to present our side. It is better to part ways,” said Khalsa.
Trying to fix meeting of Kejriwal, suspended MPs
State convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur said no meeting of Kejriwal with the suspended MPs is planned as of now but that he is “trying” to fix one “I have no ego and I am personally ready to contact both. But whenever I have done that, they have spoken against Kejriwal making matters worse. As of now, Kejriwal has no plans to meet them.”