Free Press Journal

AAP widens crackdown on dissidents, suspends Punjab leader


New Delhi: Widening its crackdown on dissidents at the state level, the AAP has suspended one of its senior leaders in Punjab for indulging in “anti-party” activities a day after it suspended two of its National Executive members from Uttar Pradesh. “Professor Manjit Singh is suspended from the party pending enquiry against his anti-party activities. He will no longer represent the party in any forum in the media and outside,” a press note said.

When contacted, Singh said that he was suspended for “speaking out” against the removal of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan in “an unconstitutional way” and the manner they were humiliated by the party. “I came to know about the action against me only through the media,” he said. Singh, a former spokesperson of the party’s Punjab unit, was also the member of the screening and campaigning committee in the state during the Lok Sabha polls.

The move was slammed by another state leader Baljeet Singh, who had contested from the Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, as “unconstitutional” and against the established norms of the party. “The decision should have been routed through the state executive committee and the disciplinary committee. He should have been given a show-cause notice. But they have disregarded every single norm,” Baljeet told PTI.

Signs of discomfiture in the Punjab unit has become stark as its MP from Patiala Dharamvir Gandhi, who had taken a stand in support of Bhushan and Yadav at the national council meet, has also written a letter to party chief Arvind Kejriwal complaining against the “slander” campaign against him. The party has also discontinued 22 district observers it had appointed to “oversee” elections to local bodies in Punjab.

“Since at present the district observers don’t have any role thus their appointment stand withdrawn,” the note added.

AAP sources said the decision was taken since the party has “decided against contesting” polls in Municipal Corporations, Municipal Committees and Nagar Panchayats. AAP has called a meeting of the State Executive Committee of Punjab and its 22 district in-charges on April 6 which will be presided over by senior leader Sanjay Singh, the party’s central observer for the state.