AAP removes Ramdas as Lokpal, Bhushan from disciplinary panel

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New Delhi: AAP’s internal Lokpal Admiral (retd) L Ramdas was today shown the door while dissident AAP leader Prashant Bhushan was axed from the party’s disciplinary committee, a day after Bhushan and senior leader Yogendra Yadav were expelled from the National Executive (NE) for “backstabbing” and “hatching conspiraces” against the party.

At an “emergency” NE meeting here, the party removed Ramdas, a former navy chief, as internal Lokpal and set up a new Lokpal panel, comprising former IPS officers N Dilip Kumar and Rakesh Sinha besides educationist S P Verma.

“All these people have given their consent to be part of the party’s Lokpal panel,” party’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta said.

Voicing disappointment over being dropped as internal Lokpal, Ramdas lashed out at the party leadership for not having the courtesy to inform him about the decision first.

He said in an informal meeting last month the party had actually requested him to continue for additional five years.

“It is with great surprise and sadness that I heard today from a reporter that the Aam Aadmi Party no longer requires my services as it’s internal Lokpal. Various media reports have subsequently confirmed this news.

“I am disappointed that the leadership of the party did not accord me the courtesy of informing me first before making this decision public. I still await their phone-call,” Ramdas said in a statement here.

The former navy chief has been the party’s Lokpal since its inception in November 2012. The removal of Ramdas came a day after he was sent an SMS by party national secretary Pankaj Gupta, asking him not to attend the National Council meeting to avoid “confrontation”.

“I am surprised because less than two weeks ago the party publicly reaffirmed its confidence in me. At no point in my tenure did the party express to me any dissatisfaction with my service,” Ramdas said.

The AAP National Executive, while sacking Bhushan from the disciplinary committee, decided to replace him with a three-member panel headed by AAP leader from Gujarat Dinesh Waghela. The other members are Arvind Kejriwal loyalist Ashish Khetan and Gupta.

The removal of Ramdas came a day after he was sent an SMS by Gupta, asking him not to attend the National Council meeting to avoid “confrontation”.

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