Chandigarh, October 1: Former Aam Aadmi Party convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur today took the final plunge to float Apna Punjab Party. The next step is to cobble up Punjab Progressive Alliance that would more or less be front of anti-AAP people. He has received encouraging from AAP rebel MP from Patiala Dr Dharam Vira Gandhi who too has been advocating issue based front. APP would enter into alliance with Dr Gandhi’s outfit. Dr Gandhi himself can’t enter into alliance being elected on AAP ticket as that would invite disqualification from Lok Sabha. This is the reason that he is daring AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to expel him from the party.
Chhotepur has ruled out any sort of arrangement or alliance with the Akali Dal-BJP alliance, the Congress or the AAP. He also attacked these three outfits in that order. It is the same narrative when these parties are criticized like Badals having looted the state and Punjab having turned into mafia state with the ruling party leaders patronizing drug smuggling while Congress too being corrupt and insensitive. AAP is blasted for being dictatorial with the state leaders having no say. Equally important is the control of the party in Punjab with outsiders. The slogan now is ‘Punjab for Punjabis’. AAP has already withdrawn several of these coordinators who had been brought mainly from the Hindi heartland to control the party affairs in this sensitive border state.
Earlier, former BJP MP from Amritsar turned comedy star had had gone into hyperbolic drive while announcing to launch the fourth front from which he backed out within days. His three other associates were rebel Akali Dal MLA Pargat Singh and MLAs Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains, both real brothers. Bains brothers are now learnt to be exploring the option of joining hands with the Congress. AAP does not believe in pre-poll alliance. In the process, Sidhu has lost whatever credibility he had. With Dr Gandhi extending assurance, the fourth front would be led by APP.
The leaders who had come out of AAP are Chhotepur’s main support base. He seems to be succeeding in enlarging his support structure. He asserted he had candidates for all the seats.
He has been interacting with various leaders in the opposition spectrum during the last fortnight before making the formal announcement of floating new party.
The vertical split has forced AAP to change the style of functioning. Ironically, Chhotepur, despite heading the party unit in Punjab going to the polls, was not part of the political affairs committee and thus without any say in decision making or allotment of tickets. It was only when he raised his voice that he invited retaliation thereby precipitating the crisis. Those managing party affairs in Punjab were perhaps over-confident. AAP is now building up party structure by appointing other office bearers besides the convener. This is indication of certain apprehensions. APP is likely to impact AAP more than any other established political party. It can’t be out rightly conjectured that the gainer would be the Akali Dal.
Yet another interesting side effect of exit of Chhotepur is that AAP leadership is now not taking notice of its state leaders voicing different opinion on the same issues. They have started differing with even with Kejriwal.
With some minor adjustments, the political situation would now stabilize within about a month with the outlines of the contest becoming more and more pronounced.
The left out so far is the United Akali Dal that has been trying to have some sort of understanding with AAP, though not alliance. However, going by the nature of political discourse, this smaller party might have to go alone. It would be better in case this party concentrates on a few seats. The UAD is organising another Sarbat Khalsa on November 10 and the venue this time is Talwandi Sabo in the Malwa heartland. The party would announce its political strategy after this conclave.
Chhotepur is likely to finalise alliance and arrangements with other outfits in the next fortnight.