Two days after Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur was sacked by the party after a video surfaced allegedly showing him accept from an AAP volunteer cash in exchange for a party ticket, AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira on Sunday defended Chhotepur and demanded more power for Punjab leaders from the high command. “Chhotepur’s unceremonious removal has demoralised party volunteers. It’s very unfortunate. I’m very sad as he is the man who has toiled really hard to establish the party,” said Khaira while addressing a press conference.
“People of Punjab are seeing the AAP as the only remedy for the beleaguered state. I’m also getting a number of mails, calls and messages from the NRIs, who had shown great faith in Kejriwal’s vision for Punjab. They all want more power for Punjab leaders,” Khaira added. “I just want to tell party supremos (Kejriwal) that please believe in us. We are here to implement your policies only. But the local leaders can’t achieve this goal if they are ignored and not made part of decision-making,” said Khaira. Asked about strong dissenting voices from some seats about ticket distribution, Khaira said there was nothing wrong in reviewing the tickets at some places. “We should take care of the sentiments of lakhs of supporters as ignoring them can harm the party,” he added.
He also described Chhotepur’s comments and outburst against party chief Arvind Kejriwal and alleged remarks against Sikhism as “ridiculous”. He claimed Kejriwal respected Sikhism and Sikhs, which is apparent after he constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe allegations of Congress leaders involved in the 1984 anti-Sikhs riots. Khaira also urged party to rethink on some candidates chosen for assembly segments where volunteers are opposing them. “Party must respect the sentiments of ground workers who were toiling,” he said, admitting that few of his opponents may try to project his opinion on the present crisis as indiscipline. “But I hope party would treat it s a positive feedback and would respect the feelings of volunteers” he said.