MP Dharamvira Gandhi had been suspended, along with colleague Harinder Singh Khalsa, for ‘anti-party’ activities in 2015.
New Delhi: An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament from Punjab, Dharamvira Gandhi, has rebuffed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s attempt at reconciliation, a source told ThePrint Tuesday.
The source said the party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Sanjay Singh, is leading the reconciliation attempt on behalf of Kejriwal.
Gandhi, along with another AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa, was suspended from the party in August 2015 for ‘anti-party activities’. He confirmed that he had been approached by the party.
“Yes, the party had reached out to me in the last few weeks but I’ve explicitly told them that I’m not coming back. I’ve realised that it’s not in Kejriwal’s DNA to decentralise power,” Gandhi told ThePrint.
Gandhi also said there was no question of him returning to the AAP as the party’s top leadership had made every attempt to assassinate his character, which “I had built over the years”.
“The top leadership, sitting in Delhi, should know that party is not a place where you can expel or bring in somebody based on whims and fancies. The party has completely abandoned the principles on which it was formed,” he told ThePrint.
In March, Gandhi had launched an outfit called ‘Punjab Manch’ declaring it will evolve into a political outfit and field candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Efforts on to repair Punjab unit
The AAP reaching out to Gandhi comes a day after the party extended an olive branch to its former Punjab convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur almost two years after he was unceremoniously sacked from the post.
Some of the AAP’s Punjab leaders, including an MLA, had met Chhotepur Sunday evening, asking him to return and play a part in rebuilding the party in Punjab, which is floundering amid dissent and a wave of desertions.
Sources in the AAP’s Delhi unit told ThePrint that the party leadership has now realised that if it doesn’t tackle the situation in Punjab, it will lose all the capital it has before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Gandhi alleged that the real issue with the party is that it’s fully controlled by the people in Delhi who really don’t understand Punjab. And that is the reason why they have “completely lost the plot in the state”.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the AAP had won four seats in Punjab; two of these MPs are now suspended.
In the March 2017 assembly elections, the party won 20 assembly seats to become the principal opposition party in Punjab. But eight of its sitting MLAs have revolted under the leadership of the former Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira.