AAP candidate in Punjab polls accuses top leaders of corruption
Chandigarh, Nov 24 (IANS) In perhaps the worst accusation that the top leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has faced ahead of the crucial assembly elections in Punjab, a party candidate alleged that he was asked to pay Rs 1 crore by two top AAP leaders.
AAP candidate from the Bhoa assembly constituency in Pathankot district, Vinod Kumar, made serious allegations against top AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak saying that they demanded the huge amount from him after he was allotted the party ticket.
“I was called on November 12, 2016 at a house in Chandigarh. AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak told me that I was not campaigning properly. They told me to get Rs 1 crore deposited with them so that they could take care of my campaigning,” Kumar told the media here.
“I told them that AAP was fighting against corruption and our agenda was to campaign and contest polls without spending money. How can anyone, who contests elections by spending Rs 1 crore, be honest,” he said.
“When I questioned them, they told me to take Rs 30 lakh and give up my claim on the ticket for the Bhoa seat. I suspect that if they were demanding Rs 1 crore from me, they could have been offered Rs 2 crore by someone else to get me replaced as the AAP candidate,” Kumar pointed out.
Kumar said that Sanjay Singh made him speak to AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of giving Rs 1 crore.
“Singh made me talk to Kejriwal on phone. He told me to do as Singh has said. Singh and Pathak have spread corruption in AAP Punjab unit,” Kumar said.
He said he was forced to expose the corruption in Punjab AAP as he was being pressurised to pay up.
“No official candidate of a party takes this step till there is something very serious,” Kumar said.
The AAP has announced its list of 80 candidates for the 117 assembly seats.
Elections in Punjab are likely to be held early next year.
The AAP, which has been facing infighting in the past three months, has seen allegations of collection of big amounts of money in the run-up to Punjab assembly polls being made against its top leaders from Delhi.
The AAP had suspended its Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur in August this year after a video clip surfaced, purportedly showing him taking money from a party supporter.
Chhotepur has now floated a new party, Apna Punjab Party (APP), and is countering the AAP.