Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was “snooping” on its parliamentarians after a leaked telephone conversation between MPs Bhagwant Mann and Dharamvir Gandhi indicated the Punjab unit’s discontent with the party’s central leadership.
In the conversation, Mann is heard telling Gandhi that he won because of his celebrity status and not because of AAP’s ‘broom’ symbol and that people working against them have been made the incharge of the state unit.
“Those who worked against us. Those who expressed sorrow at our victory have been made our incharges,” Mann is heard saying.
Acknowledging the chat, Gandhi said Mann “spoke” his heart out. The conversation took a day before Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi in February, he said.
“Whatever Mann has said is right. He has spoken his heart out,” Gandhi, who was suspended from the AAP for anti-party activities last month, said while denying any role in leaking the clip.
“My phone does not have any facility to record,” he said.
Mann gave a guarded response to the leak going public saying that he had no doubt in Kejriwal’s leadership and that he was a “loyal” footsoldier of the party.
“This is a result of dirty politics and is being done to stem the rise of AAP in Punjab. We are basically saying (during the chat) that if there is groupism in the party’s Punjab unit we should inform Delhi,” he told reporters.
The party, however, went on the offensive against the Centre saying it had asked its MPs to write to the Speaker over their phones being “tapped”, saying the issues raised by Mann in the conversation were of no “consequence”.
“The content of the chat is of no consequence here. It’s a petty issue. But the larger story is how the Centre is resorting to such tactics against MPs. There should be an inquiry over this,” AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said.