Troubles for Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab unit grow as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Sukhpal Singh Khaira was removed from the post which has led to a sense of discontent growing in the party.
It is reported that the meeting between Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Sukhpal Khaira has not yielded any positive results, as Manish Sisodia refused to review the decision of removing Khaira as Leader of Opposition. The Khaira group demands to reinstate him as the leader of the opposition, as they view that the decision of his removal was undemocratic.
Khaira was accompanied by the fellow MLAs of the state, the likes of Kanwar Sandhu, Nazar Singh Mansahia, Rupinder Ruby, Baldev Singh, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Jagtar Singh Hissowal and Pirmal Singh. Senior Leader HS Phoolka and former MLA from Delhi, Jarnail Singh had also attended the meeting.
Kanwar Sandhu speaking to the media said the meeting was to make the leadership understand that the decision to remove the LoP was undemocratic. He blamed that the leadership has either not heard the voice of Punjab or is not interested in hearing it.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira has now called for a convention to be held on August 2 and has also started mobilizing the people for the same. It is reported that Khaira is adamant to go ahead with the convention, as the leadership of the party is not happy with Khaira organizing the convention. He further said that he is not leaving the party and would ensure that no defection takes place from the party.
Khaira said he was not for any designation, but the manner in which he was removed from the post was arbitrary and humiliating. “We respect Kejriwal, but it does not mean that we are his slaves or we do not have self-respect,” he said while addressing AAP workers in Bhatinda. He accused the party leaders of promoting “button culture”, referring to the decision making on important decisions by sitting in Delhi.
It is reported that the rift in the party started when Kejriwal had to apologize to senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia for falsely accusing the latter of running a drug trade. At that time, Khaira and Bhagawat Mann had objected to Kejriwal’s decision and Mann had also resigned from the post of state chief.
The AAP Punjab Unit’s co-president Balbir Singh had accused him of accepting money from party workers. It was also reported that Khaira was alleged to have supported “referendum 2020”, which intends to create a separate state for Sikhs.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, MLA from Bhulath, was appointed as the leader of opposition after HS Phoolka resigned from the post as he has decided to step away sighting conflict of interest, to fight the cases relating 1984 Anti-Sikh riots in the Supreme Court. The AAP in Punjab has now changed the leader of opposition two times in just a span of 15 months.
The party has now appointed a Dalit leader and Dirba MLA, Harpal Singh Cheema as the new leader of opposition. It is reported that the party has chosen him to develop the leadership, as the Panchayat elections in the state are expected to be held in September this year and also for the next year Lok Sabha election.