AAP removes Chhotepur from top post in Punjab

AAP removes Chhotepur  from top post in Punjab

 The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday removed its Punjab state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur from the top post pending an inquiry into corruption charges against him.

The developments follow Chhotepur accusing AAP party leaders of conspiring with the ruling SAD to put up weak candidates for the assembly elections. Chhotepur is credited with laborious work at the grassroots level to establish the AAP in Punjab. The party is grappling rot within that could cost dear just when elections are round the corner in this border state. 

The Congress says it is willing to admit Chhotepur into the party fold. The veteran leader, who has earlier been with the SAD and then with the Congress before joining AAP, could join hands with the Congress. Chhotepur has been removed on the basis of a video clip that purportedly showed him accepting money from a volunteer. On Friday, Chhotepur held a press conference in Chandigarh and accused the AAP of conspiring against him. He indicated that Kejriwal was "anti-Sikh" and said it did not matter to him if a Sikh wanted to follow his religion as a devout. 

A two-member committee of Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh and former Punjab bureaucrat Jasbir Singh Bir would conduct the inquiry. In fact, the decision has not come as a surprise. Party MP Bhagwant Mann and 21 others had expressed dissent against Chhotepur seeking his ouster. He was at one time touted as a possible candidate for the post of the chief minister if the AAP won the assembly elections scheduled early next year.

Chhotepur also accused party leader Durgesh Pathak of conspiracy. He said, "For over two years, AAP has not given me money or fund. How are we running the party? It is through volunteers’ money. I have contributed over Rs 20 lakh through volunteers to the party," he said. He said he was willing to face a CBI inquiry to prove his innocence. He said his opponents are defending him while his own party was conspiring against him. Chhotepur said his supporters will decide his next course of action.

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