The Hush Post: On Thursday, while seven Aam Aadmi Party MLAs were at Bathinda, 11 went to Delhi, many said they were there to meet ailing Bhagwant Mann. Or were they there to meet Mann enroute Arvind Kejriwal?
Meanwhile, in Bathinda, AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira did a ‘show of strength’ by holding a rally in Bhatinda, the other faction of AAP alleged that the event was sponsored by Akali Dal-BJP and former ally Lok Insaf Party.
On the other hand, newly-appointed Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said the convention in Bathinda was meant to confuse Aam Aadmi Party workers. The AAP in the state had plunged into a new crisis when the party leadership appointed Cheema as the Leader of Opposition.
On Thursday, 11 AAP MLAs reached Delhi to meet Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in protest contrary to what they had earlier said that they wanted to meet Bhagwant Mann. Seven of the party’s 20 MLAs openly rebelled against this decision, and later announced the volunteers’ convention.
Punjabi film actor and former convenor of the AAP’s state unit Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi came out in Khaira’s support, urging party workers to attend his convention.
But Harpal Singh Cheema claimed that the rally was being sponsored by SAD-BJP, RSS and the Bains brothers — Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains — who lead the Lok Insaf Party, which was once an AAP ally.
In a statement, Cheema told AAP workers that the Bathinda meeting had nothing to do with party leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia whose photographs and names are on posters for the rally.
The AAP overseas wing has issued a statement backing Cheema and asking MLAs and workers to stay united.
It has asked AAP workers to respect the decision taken by the party which has already termed the rally an “anti-party” activity.
Cheema said the AAP’s state and national leadership would have welcomed the convention if it was meant to voice the concerns of Dalits, farmers and the unemployed. Accusing the Bains bothers of trying to break up the AAP, he said some party leaders had come under their influence.
AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu, who is supporting Khaira, had claimed that 2-13 AAP MLAs would participate in the convention. He claimed the event was meant to “strengthen” the party.