Cracking the whip on dissidents, Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday suspended two of its Punjab MPs -- Dharamvira Gandhi, who had supported expelled leader Yogendra Yadav, and Harinder Singh Khalsa -- for anti-party activities and alleged that they had joined hands with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal combine in the state.
The decision was taken at the party’s Political Affairs Committee in which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal participated through phone from Haridwar.
AAP had won four seats in Lok Sabha polls in Punjab while drawing a blank elsewhere in the country, including Delhi. Dharamvira Gandhi was elected from Patiala LS seat while Khalsa won from Fatehgarh Sahib constituency.
The two MPs were charged with “damaging the prospects” of AAP in Punjab and the case has now been referred to the three-member National Disciplinary Committee comprising party’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta, Delhi unit convener Dilip Pandey and spokesperson Deepak Bajpail, the AAP said.
“Mr Gandhi and Mr Khalsa have joined hands with the corrupt BJP-SAD leaders in Punjab and have betrayed the faith of the common man,” the AAP said in its Twitter handle.
“The two MPs have been suspended and not sacked. This means they have to follow the party’s whip in Lok Sabha,” said a senior AAP leader and threatened that they will be liable for disqualification if they do not follow the whip.
Sources said the party leadership was unhappy with the duo for holding a parallel conference at Baba Bakala near Amritsar on Saturday on the occasion of Rakhar Puniya (rakhi) festival.
Two stalls were set up at the venue of the festival -- one by state convener Sucha Singh Chotepur and another by Gandhi and Khalsa.
“They used pictures of National Convener Arvind Kejriwal and party MPs Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh to create confusion and help Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP.
“They used party symbol and pictures of party leaders in the publicity material of their conference without due permission from the party,” the party said.
Gandhi is considered close to expelled AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.
“Taking cognisance of their anti-party activities and indiscipline, the PAC has decided to refer their case to the National Disciplinary Action Committee for suitable action against them. The PAC also unanimously resolves to suspend Dharamvira Ghandhi and Harinder Singh Khala from the primary membership of the party,” the party added.
When contacted, the Patiala MP said he was not aware of the action taken against him.
In the Lok Sabha election when the party drew a blank in its stronghold of Delhi, it won four seats in Punjab. The party is now working to wrest power from the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine in 2017 assembly polls.