The Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Saturday suspended its Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Fatehgarh Sahib MP Harinder Singh Khalsa for “anti-party” activities. The decision was taken after the duo attended a rally organised by sacked disciplinary committee chief Dr Daljit Singh at the Rakhar Puniya fair in Baba Bakala in Amritsar district earlier in the day. AAP had organised its own rally at the fair led by Punjab affairs incharge Sanjay Singh and state convenor Sucha Singh Chottepur.
Chottepur told The Sunday Express that the decision, to suspend the duo, was taken by the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) under the leadership of national convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
In a press statement announcing their suspensions, AAP said: “In its meeting on August 29, 2015, the PAC took cognisance of anti-party activities indulged in by Dharamavira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa in Punjab. In a unanimous decision, the PAC suspended Khalsa and Gandhi from the party and referred their cases to the National Disciplinary Action Committee.”
“Mr Gandhi and Mr Khalsa have been involved in activities of certain outfits…the only aim of these outfits is to damage the Aam Aadmi Party and the anti-corruption movement in the country. There are several instances that show that Mr Gandhi and Mr Khalsa are trying to establish a parallel organisation within the party with the sole objective of damaging the party in Punjab… Mr Gandhi and Mr Khalsa on Saturday organised a conference…used the party symbol and pictures of party leaders…without due permission from the party,” the statement goes on to add.
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Reacting to his suspension, Dr Gandhi said he was yet to see the orders. “I will reach Patiala and see what the orders are,” he said, adding that the ‘parallel’ rally was attended by 5,000 volunteers,” who are angry” with the party’s policies in Punjab.
“They are running the Punjab unit like a colony from Delhi. Volunteers are upset with AAP as they are not being consulted on party decisions; I am with the volunteers. I belong to Punjab and I understand their sentiments on a third alternative. They want clean leaders but unfortunately the party is taking leaders from SAD and BSP and those with dubious and controversial backgrounds,” the Patiala MP said.
Harinder Singh Khalsa said his suspension did not surprise him as, according to him, the party high command was waiting for an excuse to do so.
“I would not be surprised if they expel me. They can go ahead. Kejriwal is behind all this. Like former PM Indira Gandhi, who thought Indira was India and vice versa, Kejriwal thinks he is the party and the party is him. Only his writ runs and those holding posts at the state-level are spineless.”
He said he never wanted to leave the party but was now “getting suffocated because of the working style of local AAP leaders, especially Sanjay Singh”.
“I did not run after a berth in the Lok Sabha. Harinder Singh Phoolka (SC lawyer and AAP leader) insisted and got me a ticket. I have been an ambassador to Kenya, have been associated with the commission for SC and STs and also been a MP.”
Khalsa said all they did was to attend a rally organised by ex-convenors of the 22 districts who worked hard to send four MPs from Punjab. “Chottepur doesn’t like them. We went ahead because these people said they would quit the party,” he said.
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