Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who was sacked as Convenor of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in an inglorious manner after a sting operation, is all set to form a new political party. The unceremonious sacking has made him even more determined to set up a new political organisation which will work only for the interest of the Punjab and 'Punjabiat' in an honest manner.
The 65-year-old Sucha Singh Chhotepur is one of the most experienced political leaders of Punjab. Along with Capt Amarinder Singh of Congress, Chhotepur was the Akali Dal minister in the Surjit Singh Barnala government in the mid-1980s. A man of principles, he had resigned from the Punjab cabinet along with Captain Amarinder Singh after the police entry in the Golden Temple complex in April 1986 when extremists had declared the entity of 'Khalistan' from the Akal Takht.
In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Sucha Singh talks about his plans of setting up a new party in order to tackle various problems of Punjab in the light of the forthcoming assembly elections in the state.
There are talks of you forming a new political party. When is that going to happen?
I am in the process of forming a new political party with the support of people. I have already made good preparations and plan to launch the party in the first week of October. At present my group is assessing our support base and has found out that it is very strong. All those people who love Punjab and value its honour and dignity are willing and eager to join our group.
Is your party going to be called the 'Aap Lok Party'?
People have suggested various names for the party. We are considering them. We will disclose the name when we form the party. I am happy people are taking keen interest in the formation of a party under us. I am thankful to them.
Will your party be able to compete with other established parties of the state? Do you have money and resources to contest a state-level poll?
We are receiving tremendous support of people from all walks of life. Don’t forget I had set up AAP on my own resources and people's support. AAP did not give me any money to run the organisation. If I can do it once, I can certainly do it again.
Who all members will be in your party?
My thinking is clear. I am determined to take all the people who want clean politics in the state. So far I have had talks with several political leaders of the state who have promised support. I am very hopeful of forming a group of people who are ideologically solid and have a clean image.
Navjot Singh Sidhu was also reported to be moving ahead to set up a political party through his 'Awaaz-e-Punjab' and join hands with you. What happened to that?
Only Sidhu knows what he has in mind and what he wants to do. You better ask him. I have no idea. If he wants to support our party he is most welcome. In fact, I welcome all those people who have the welfare of Punjab in mind.
What would be the agenda of your party?
Our party will be Punjab-centric. All political parties – be it Akali Dal or Congress or the BJP – have left no effort behind to loot and destroy this great state. The land and sand mafia are ruling the state. Drug mafia has destroyed an entire generation. Youth are jobless and restless; farmers are committing suicide; women are not safe; industry has run away; education, health, and transport are in shambles; criminals and drug peddlers are roaming free. After all this loot, a new party (AAP) has come up to continue the plunder. Corruption rules large. There are criminal elements in all the parties. For how long will this continue? There is no respite for the people. We want to change all this and establish the rule of the people. Our election manifesto will be based keeping in view the welfare of the people.
Can your proposed party tackle the growing drug menace in Punjab?
I have said before that the drug menace in Punjab can be tackled in just two months. We have to cut the drug mafia links with high and mighty people and that includes politicians as well. We have to take extremely strong steps and harsh measures for this. We can do this because we have the will.
You have had a bitter experience with AAP. They removed you as party's Convenor of Punjab and have also pronounced you guilty in the sting operation.
All I would say is that I am innocent, but became a victim of AAP’s machinations and manipulations. If they (AAP) have found me guilty let them hang me. What can they do? It was all a setup. What kind of an inquiry asks no questions to the accused (me)? AAP has pronounced a one-sided judgment which is not acceptable to me. AAP is there in Punjab just to make money. It does not care for Punjab or Punjabis. Arvind Kejriwal is a dictator. He does not listen to anyone.