“Controversies go hand in hand with the functioning of AAP. Right from inception, it has been making news for all the wrong reasons. AAP, Punjab is no exception either and internal rift within the party never refuses to die down”
Adding to woes of AAP Punjab, comedian-turned-politician, Bhagwant Mann, MP from Sangrur constituency and a close aid of Arvind Kejriwal also echoed the voice of discontent. A four-minute long audio clip of telephonic conversation between Bhagwant Mann and Dharamvir Gandhi went viral in social media sites.
The audio clip had a voice, purportedly Bhagwant Mann’s, criticizing the party high command for not allowing elected representatives to choose their own teams, and the state convener Sucha Singh Chottepur for wanting to issue party tickets without consulting anyone in the party.
Bhagwant Mann is alleged to have said in the clip that the high command is being told – Punjab MPs were “good for nothing”. Bhagwant Mann is also heard expressing, “Punjab is not Delhi where the party could win elections with ease.”
AAP’s Punjab Dream far from reality
Internal conflict is not new to Punjab unit of AAP. Differences surfaced between the AAP central leadership and state unit and two of AAP’s MPs Dharamvir Gandhi from Patiala and Harinder Singh Khalsa from Fatehgarh Sahib accused central leadership of enforcing excessive control over state affairs. The disgruntled MPs also expressed their concerns over not consulting them before restructuring the party’s state unit.
They believed that the basic tenets on which the party was formed and got overwhelming support from people gradually faded away. The key identifiers like the concepts of ‘swaraj’, honesty, transparency etc. promulgated in the party’s charter were gradually lost in the labyrinth of power. Eventually, the rebel MPs were suspended from party fold.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, AAP managed to garner public support by winning four seats in Punjab. AAP is trying hard to make tall claims and desperately hoping to present itself as a viable alternative in the state. However, the continuous squabbling and lack of leadership in the state unit has certainly put a question mark on AAP’s future ahead of Assembly polls.