Ex-Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira along with Pirmal Singh and Jagdev Singh Kamalu today joined Congress at a low-key event at Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s residence. Khaira, a former Congress leader had quit the party to join AAP in 2015. He contested 2017 Punjab Assembly elections on AAP ticket and won the Bholath constituency. However, he quit the party in January 2019 and floated his own outfit ‘Punjab Ekta Party’.
However, Khaira’s stunt as a politician has been full of controversies.
Heroin smuggling controversy
Khaira’s name was linked to drug peddlers in heroin smuggling case back in 2015 after one of his close aide Gurdev was accused in a cross-border drug smuggling racket. However, in the charge sheet that was filed, his name was not included by the police. The police had said that Gurdev had allegedly funded all elections Khaira contested since 1997. In March 2021, the Enforcement Directorate raided his premises in the case. The ED conducted the raid under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is aimed at gathering more evidence to take forward the probe.
Khaira has been very vocal about the support to Referendum 2020, which intends to create a separate State for Sikhs. In 2018, Khaira had allegedly said, “I support the Sikh referendum 2020 movement as Sikhs have the right to demand justice against atrocities suffered by them.” However, he had later ‘clarified‘ his stand and claimed that he was ‘not in favour of Referendum 2020’, but added that it was “result of a consistent policy of bias, discrimination in persecution of Sikhs ever since partition, be it attack on Darbar Sahib, genocide of Sikhs in 1984”.
In November 2020, Khaira had appealed to people to celebrate ‘Black Diwali’ to protest against the new farm laws which aim to actually benefit the farmers. In 2015, too, he had urged the Sikhs to wear black turns till Diwali to protest against alleged sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.
Khalistan support and other allegations
In 2015, when he had joined Aam Aadmi Party, Congress leader Laal Singh had accused Khaira of having raised Khalistan flag in Kapurthala. He had also alleged that Khaira was a ‘landgrabber’ and said that the house he was then living in belonged to a film actress and he had forcibly occupied it. Singh also said that Khaira was never a spokesperson of Congress but used it as a card to negotiate better post as he joined AAP.
Now, five years after quitting Congress for AAP, Khaira is back to Congress.