Sucha Singh Chhotepur has been known as a leader of independent views with a streak of activism. His long career has seen him in Congress, Akali Dal and AAP. Though his rivals have mocked him for moving from party to party, yet they find it hard to associate him with corruption, and are unconvinced by reports of a video that purportedly shows him accepting money. The video was apparently shot by an AAP member and he agrees that he accepted money but insists it was for party funds. Chhotepur is a senior leader in Punjab and considered as a pioneer in creating a base for AAP in the state. A former SAD MLA, Chhotepur was once a close aide of former chief minister captain Amarinder Singh. Chhotepur and Amrinder, along with 22 SAD MLAs quit the former chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala government in protest of uniformed police action in the Amritsar’s Golden Temple.
A baptised Sikh and son of a farmer of Chhotepur village in Majha region, Chhotepur started his political career from Government College, Gurdaspur, in 1968. He is considered to have been a close aide of leaders such as Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and Gurcharan Singh Tohra, says an Indian Express report. Chhotepur and his wife, Harbhajan Kaur, have two sons, one a lawyer and the other a student. He inherited 40 acres of agricultural land but, his son Ajay Singh said, his uncle (Chhotepur’s brother) took upon himself the responsibility of running the joint family. He won many admirers when he resigned to protest against the government for allowing police to enter the Golden Temple.
Among those who resigned with him was Captain Amarinder Singh, who is now Punjab Congress president. The bond they built remains today. Amarinder often refers to Chhotepur as an “honourable and respectable” man and said Wednesday he is a man with an unblemished career. In 2009, Amarinder took Chhotepur into the Congress fold during a rally in Gurdaspur, when the two were campaigning for Partap Singh Bajwa. Bajwa won that election, with Chhotepur’s local influence seen as having contributed to the victory. In the last election, Chhotepur contested against Bajwa on an AAP ticket; the BJP’s Vinod Khanna won. It was Chhotepur’s second defeat in an LS election, the other one having been as an independent. In 2012, Chhotepur lost an assembly election against Bajwa’s wife. Chhotepur joined AAP before the 2014 elections. AAP leaders say his oratory impressed Kejriwal who heard him for the first time in Gurdaspur. When AAP lost two assembly byelections, Kejriwal asked Chhotepur to keep the party afloat in Punjab.