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AAP Rebels in Punjab Stage Show of Strength, 11 MLAs Arrive in Delhi to Protest

The AAP in the state had plunged into a crisis when the party leadership appointed Cheema as the Leader of Opposition on July 26, replacing Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

News18.com

Updated:August 2, 2018, 2:42 PM IST
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AAP Rebels in Punjab Stage Show of Strength, 11 MLAs Arrive in Delhi to Protest
File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
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Chandigarh: As AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira tried to put up a "show of strength" by holding a mega rally in Bhatinda, the Arvind Kejriwal's party in Punjab alleged that the event was sponsored by Akali Dal-BJP and former ally Lok Insaf Party.

Newly appointed Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said the anti-Dalit convention in Bathinda was meant to confuse Aam Aadmi Party workers. The AAP in the state had plunged into a crisis when the party leadership appointed Cheema as the Leader of Opposition on July 26, replacing Sukhpal Singh Khaira.

According to a newspaper in Punjab, 11 AAP MLAs have reached Delhi to meet Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia in protest.

Eight of the party's 20 MLAs openly rebelled against this decision, and later announced the volunteers' convention.

Punjabi film actor and former convenor of the AAP's state unit Gurpreet Singh Waraich 'Ghuggi' came out in Khaira's support, urging party workers to attend his Thursday's convention.

But Harpal Singh Cheema claimed that the rally was being sponsored by SAD-BJP, RSS and the Bains brothers — Simarjeet Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains — who lead the Lok Insaf Party, which was once an AAP ally.

In a statement, Cheema told AAP workers that the Bathinda meeting had nothing to do with party leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia whose photographs and names are on posters for the rally.

The AAP overseas wing has issued a statement backing Cheema and asking MLAs and workers to stay united and avoid following any "individual".

In its message to party volunteers, the overseas wing said its members were saddened that some individuals were trying to manipulate overseas volunteers for personal ambition and gains. These individuals do not speak for us nor do they represent us, it said.

It has asked AAP workers to respect the decision taken by the party which has already termed the rally an "anti-party" activity.

Cheema said the AAP's state and national leadership would have welcomed the convention if it was meant to voice the concerns of Dalits, farmers and the unemployed. Accusing the Bains bothers of trying to break up the AAP, he said some party leaders had come under their influence.

AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu, who is supporting Khaira, had claimed that 2-13 AAP MLAs would participate in the convention. He claimed the event was meant to "strengthen" the party.

(With inputs from PTI)
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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