After witnessing the rule of SAD-BJP alliance and Congress for decades, people of Punjab had this time hoped for a fresh waft of air that could cleanse the dirt of the system in Punjab.However, the hope is getting shattered now as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a political entity on which the masses had started staking hopes, has landed into serious trouble with the party sacking its state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur from the position.
After the row over Navjot Sidhu’s entry, followed by the manifesto fiasco, now the variety of allegations like ‘ticket sale’ and ‘the policy of use and destroy’, the risk to the credence of the party has now reached its peak as Chhotepur’s sacking followed by his blistering attacks on the national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has occurred when the poll manifesto is partially out in the public and the names of 33 candidates for the state Vidhan Sabha polls, schedeuled early next year, have also been declared.
While the party did not name Chhotepur’s replacement immediately, his unceremonious removal from the position has made him bold enough to lash out at the party leadership. Chhotepur, who was among the initial lot to join the AAP in Punjab, has no hitch in painting anyone in the AAP with his brush of accusation.Interestingly, a day after party’s Punjab campaign in-charge Bhagwant Mann made the announcement of Chhotepur’s sacking in Delhi after meeting of the Political Affairs of the party, the latter was quick to come up with another shocker, “Bhagwant had called me on July 22 and said, ‘Chacha saara kuch barbaad ho gaya. Mere paas Sanjay Singh aur Durgesh Pathak aaye aur bataya ki Sidhu join kar raha hai… He then asked me to meet him immediately in Delhi the next day.”
The removal of Chhotepur, which has rocked the state politics, is being seen from different angles and perspectives. The SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress, the traditional rivals, are enjoying the scene at least for now as they were finding the third player as a major challenge for both of them.Though it’s tough to predict the futuristic line of developments in politics, the developments in AAP have certainly come as a major jolt for AAP lovers, who have aggressively multiplied in number after the party won four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. Though two of the party’s four MPs were suspended for their “anti-party” comments, the AAP gained huge response on the ground and from the stage of Maghi Mela held in January this year at Muktsar, it had virtually disturbed the ruling alliance as well as the party in opposition.
However, the boom it could not maintain and despite it being the highest fertile occasion for the change in the state, the party is shooting itself in its own foot with one blunder after another. After the founder team members like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were thrown out of the party, suspension of two Punjab MPs, Gandhi and Khalsa, had disturned a lot to the AAP followers but the high command hardly bothered to respect the sentiments of masses and the uninterrupted seqeuence of suspensions and sackings now claimed the position of Chhotepur.
Though Chhotepur has not yet announced his futher line of action, Bhushan and Yadav created Swaraj Lehar and its offshoot is also ready to contest polls in the nation. One of the senior members of AAP Prof Manjit Singh is now the state convener of Swaraj Lehar and interestingly, now Patiala MLA Dr Dharamvir Gandhi is also ready to launch a common front which is expected to have the dominance of “anti-AAP leaders” and their target will also be to damage the AAP more than the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress.The turmoil in the party also makes one have a strong feeling that the majority of volunteers in AAP joined the party with a dream in their eyes to get a ticket to contest polls at one level or the other. And now, these ambitions are damaging the party itself.There are strong reports that Bhagwant Mann and Chhotepur were in a strong competition to project themselves as the party’s CM face but on the parallel, the Central leadership, which includes Durgesh Pathak and Sanjay Singh, wants Kejriwal to win and become Punjab CM.
Though there is hardly any formal word from Kejriwal on the subject, all Punjab leaders of the party who keep a desire to see themselves on the position strongly assert that the CM face should be from Punjab only.Amid this ruckus, which has undoubtedly pricked the AAP’s bubble, a section of the party lovers have started fearing if the party would also meet the same fate as of the former SAD minister Manpreet Singh Badal’s political outfit-People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) in Assembly polls 2012.
The PPP, which was riding high on its anti-establishment votebank, failed to win even a single seat of the 117 assembly constituency but helped SAD-BJP to win the polls consecutively as at numerous seats the Congress, which could have bagged the anti-establishment votes, lost just by some small gaps. While comparing AAP with PPP, the general public also consider the fact that even in AAP the founders were sacked with impunity on one charge or the other.Though the string of controversies in the AAP has dimmed its sheen, the party lovers are still hopeful that such controversies would die down and the party will shine in 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls. Rest, things also depend upon how the two traditional rivals exploit the situation to target a new and common foe.
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