AAP blames RSS, Akalis for party crisis in Punjab
Chandigarh, July 31 : With its Punjab unit facing a crisis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and two legislators for trying to split the party.
"Some AAP legislators are falling prey to the trap being laid by these anti-Punjab powers," the middle-rung AAP leaders said in the joint statement.
They said news reports had hinted at a secret meeting between senior AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira and former Akali Minister and senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
"History shows that the RSS has never been able to digest the respect being given to the Dalit community," the leaders said in a reference to the appointment of AAP Dalit leader Harpal Singh Cheema as Leader of Opposition (LoP) after the sudden removal of Khaira from the post by the AAP central leadership last week.
They said anti-Punjab powers were trying to split the AAP and finish it politically.
Khaira, who was removed as the LoP last week through a tweet from AAP national leader and Punjab in-charge Manish Sisodia, remained defiant over his removal and said preparations for a party convention in Bathinda, slated for Thursday, was in full swing.
"By terming our August 2 meet as anti-party activity, Sisodia has vindicated our charge of dictatorial attitude, if we Pbi' (Punjabis) can't hold a simple meeting on our soil then how will we safeguard the interests of Pb? The AAP meet at Bathinda will settle the issue once and for all," a defiant Khaira tweeted on Tuesday.
"I urge all the brave Punjabis to attend our AAP convention at Bathinda on August 2 at Woods Resort, Dabbwali Road to espouse the cause of our state," Khaira added.
Khaira's removal led to an internal upheaval among the party's legislators.
Khaira, who paraded eight legislators in his support here last week, went to Delhi to meet Sisodia and object to his removal as LoP but their demand was rejected by the AAP central leadership.
The AAP had emerged as the main opposition in Punjab in assembly election results in March last year, winning 20 seats in the 117-member assembly.
This was the party's first outing in the assembly polls and it was able to relegate the formidable Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which ruled Punjab for 10 years (2007-2017) to the third position.