CHANDIGARH: Suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Dharamvira Gandhi on Thursday launched ‘Punjab Manch’ which, he said, will take the shape of a political party in coming months and contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Batting for more powers to the states, Gandhi said the Congress, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had failed to safeguard the interests of Punjab while the AAP had sidelined leaders from the state and was in grip of a “high-command culture”.
“The ultimate aim of this Manch is to evolve into a strong regional political outfit. There is a need for such an outfit in Punjab which can guard its interests. We will be touring Punjab over the next few weeks and months and take feedback from people.
“Once the Manch takes shape of a political outfit, I will quit AAP. We then intend to context the next year’s Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
The MP said the Manch’s vision is ‘Federal India, Democratic Punjab’ as “at present we have a centralised political structure, in the form of an overwhelmingly powerful Centre in which the contours of a ‘Union of States’ is only faintly discernable”.
“Punjab Manch aims to build a country where diversities of all hues, enjoy opportunities to flower as part of a larger bouquet, fully realising the idea of ‘unity in diversity’,” he said.
Replying to a question, the suspended AAP MP from Patiala said he will quit AAP only after the Manch takes shape of a political outfit.
Gandhi hit out at other political parties, including the Congress and BJP, for “failing to protect the interests of Punjab” over the years.
He alleged that the SAD had “reneged on the interest and the future of Punjab”.
Gandhi also accused the AAP for “ignoring the real volunteers and local leadership, and centralising power”.
“Leaders from Punjab were sidelined by AAP as people sitting in Delhi ran the show. Leaders like Sucha Singh Chhotepur were humiliated. A high-command culture is prevailing in the party now,” he claimed.
To another question, Gandhi said he had told the AAP leadership to either withdraw his suspension or expel him from the party.
“But, they have not taken any decision,” he said.
Gandhi and another MP Harinder Singh Khalsa were suspended from the primary membership of the AAP for “indiscipline and anti-party activities” over two years back.