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Punjab elections 2017: Factionalism may mar AAP’s prospects

‘Miffed’ Sucha Singh Chhotepur missing as party declares first list of candidates in Chandigarh.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Published: August 5, 2016 4:46:13 am
punjab, punjab elections, punjab elections 2017, punjab aap, aam aadmi party, punjab aam aadmi party, aap list, aap candidate list, indian express news AAP leaders announce the fist list of candidates. Source: Jasbir Malhi

FACTIONALISM in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to the fore Thursday when general secretary incharge Sanjay Singh released the first list of candidates in the absence of state convener Sucha Singh Chottepur.

Sources said Chottepur was miffed at the name of his supporter and former bureaucrat Hardip Singh Kingra, a contender from Faridkot, missing from the final list. Kingra had resigned Wednesday, levelling allegations that tickets were for sale in the party and certain leaders were running the outfit in an autocratic manner.

Chottepur, it is learnt, had walked out of a party meeting chaired by Sanjay Singh Wednesday.

Sanjay, who was to announce the list alongwith Chottepur, then called party MP Bhagwant Mann to accompany him while telling the media that Chottepur was preoccupied.

Chottepur could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Not only Chottepur but several other members of the party are also upset at the first list. Rumblings of discontent have been heard against naming of Arjuna awardee Sajjan Singh Cheema, former police officer, as candidate from Sultanpur Lodhi. Many members of the unit protested against a ticket to him by leveling allegations against him.

Similarly, ticket to Himmat Singh Shergill from Mohali too has many opposing it. Only yesterday, a majority of contenders, whose names were put forth by volunteers from Mohali, passed a resolution that they would not be supporting Himmat. The party had to hold back tickets of seven candidates amidst a banner of revolt.

With rumblings and revolt, the prospects of AAP, termed a great hope for voters in Punjab by way of offering an alternative, could be marred.

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Political observers are of the view that the AAP was behaving no less than the main opposition party, the Congress in Punjab, where the ticket aspirants always rebelled against the official nominees, thereby affecting their prospects. Out of 19 constituencies, for which the candidates have been announced, four have seen protests and seven tickets are on hold for similar reasons. It is being felt that the AAP cannot afford any kind of revolt.

Sources close to Chottepur revealed that the convener was feeling sidelined completely. At times he was not even taken into confidence while important decisions for the state were taken.

The AAP leaders , however, say they were unfazed. “We will take strong action against whosoever breaks party discipline. We are here for a political revolution and not to become MLAs. Every leader should understand this. If they do not, this means they do not subscribe to the party ideology. People want us only because we are not greedy for power or party posts,” said a leader.

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