This Article is From Aug 26, 2016

AAP Removes Punjab Chief Suchcha Singh Chhotepur, Who Called Kejriwal 'Anti-Sikh'

Punjab AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur has been accused of bribery


  • AAP could today sack its Punjab chief Suchcha Singh Chhotepur
  • He allegedly accepted cash for assembly ticket from a party worker
  • Top AAP leaders in Punjab wrote to Arvind Kejriwal seeking action
Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party has removed its Punjab chief Suchcha Singh Chhotepur, who has been accused of taking bribe for assigning constituencies to party candidates for the assembly elections to be held early next year.

21 AAP leaders from Punjab, including members of Parliament Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh, had written a letter to party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to immediately sack Mr Chhotepur based on "our party's principles of zero tolerance towards corruption."

They cite as proof against the Punjab leader a sting operation in which the 65-year-old Mr Chhotepur is allegedly seen accepting cash from a candidate. AAP sources said the party leaders have enclosed a video clip with their letter to Mr Kejriwal; the alleged sting has not been made public.

Mr Kejriwal had called a meeting of top party leaders in Delhi today to discuss Mr Chhotepur's fate.

Mr Chotepur has denied the allegations, demanding to be shown the sting. "This is a conspiracy hatched against me by some of my own partymen," said the former Punjab minister. Addressing a press conference today, he called Mr Kejriwal 'anti-Sikh'.

Punjab's big parties the Congress and the Akali Dal have mocked challenger AAP, which is attempting to make inroads in the state in this election.

"The sting operation has clearly been conceived, planned and executed as part of an internal coup engineered by AAP leaders from outside who want to control Punjab through remote by using their local stooges and inconsequential wannabe leaders," said Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh, who has described Mr Chhotepur as an "honorable and respectful" man with an unblemished career.

Mr Chhotepur has been part of both the Akali Dal and the Congress in Punjab, before he teamed up Mr Kejriwal, who asked him to build the party in the state. He had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election as an AAP candidate from Gurdaspur losing to the BJP's Vinod Khanna.  

Mr Kejriwal has since fallen out with Mr Chhotepur, mainly over selection of candidates for the Punjab elections, sources said. The party has announced two lists of candidates and Mr Chhotepur was missing on both occasions.