Defending its action against Sucha Singh Chhotepur, the Punjab unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said Wednesday that the former is still a member of the party, and has only been stripped off his responsibilities to ensure a fair and impartial probe into corruption charges levelled against him.
Reacting to allegations that he was responsible for Chhotepur's sacking, AAP's Sangrur Member of Parliament Bhagwant Mann said everybody, including Sukhbir Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh were blaming him because they were upset with the recent popularity of the party's rally in Jalalabad.
"I am the chairman of the campaign committee, while the decision is taken by the Political Affairs Committee (PAC). There is zero tolerance for corruption. A two-member committee will carry out an investigation and when its report comes, it will be presented before you people," he told ANI.
AAP core committee member Sanjay Singh, however, said, "Chhotepur is in the AAP. The entire party has decided not to speak anything objectionable against him and I am just following that order."
Another AAP leader Gurpreet Ghuggi said, "We don't see it as the exit of Chhotepur from the party. He is still an honourable member of the Aam Aadmi Party."
"Some allegations were levelled against him - if tomorrow allegations are levelled on Arvind Kejriwal, an inquiry would be carried against him or not? If I am blamed, then I cannot say why an inquiry is being carried out against me- and inquiry is being carried out. In such a scenario, the first and foremost step is to leave your post. So, he was removed from his position so that an inquiry can be carried out against him, which is not bad. He is still an AAP member, and till the time the decision is not announced, no further step will be initiated," he added.
On Friday last, the AAP sacked Chhotepur from the post of Punjab convener amid sharp criticism following accusations of him taking bribes for assigning constituencies to party candidates for the assembly elections next year.
An extremely disappointed Chhotepur had earlier accused Kejriwal of not trusting Punjabis. Holding AAP leader Durgesh Pathak responsible for the "conspiracy", Chhotepur claimed that his opponents were defending him while his own party was conspiring against him.
"I don't want to damage the party. Let volunteers decide if I am a thief or an honest person," he told media here.
The AAP leader said he was ready to accept even a "death sentence" if the charges levelled against him were proved to be true.