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Split Wide Open: AAP’s Dissident Members in Punjab Declare the State Unit Autonomous

Altogether, eight of the 20 AAP MLAs in Punjab took part in the volunteers' convention called here by the Bolath legislator after his removal from the post.


Updated:August 2, 2018, 10:14 PM IST
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Split Wide Open: AAP’s Dissident Members in Punjab Declare the State Unit Autonomous
Representative Image (Photo: Getty Images)

Bathinda: In an act of rebellion, a group of AAP legislators led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Thursday declared the party's Punjab unit autonomous and dissolved its current organisational structure.

But even while adopting this resolution at a public meeting here, Khaira gave a week's time to the leadership in Delhi to review its decision to remove him from the post of Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly.

Altogether, eight of the 20 AAP MLAs in Punjab took part in the volunteers' convention called here by the Bolath legislator after his removal from the post.

The AAP leadership had summoned all Punjab MLAs to Delhi on Thursday to indicate that they were not with Khaira's "anti-party" move.

At least 11 of them came to meet the leaders in the capital.

AAP state unit co-president said the MLAs and other leaders who attended the Bathinda convention were "misguided" and hoped that they will fall in party line in coming days to strengthen the party.

Holding a convention under the banner of Aam Aadmi Party without consulting the state and centre leadership is illegal and the leaders must avoid such activities in future," he said in a statement.

The dissidents' convention unanimously resolved that the party's Punjab unit was autonomous, and will take its own decisions.

It dissolved the current organisational structure in the state and tasked the dissident MLAs and the convention organisers to frame a new one.

One of the resolutions said the existing organisational structure had eroded the AAP's image and its base in the state.

The convention flayed Khaira's removal as Leader of Opposition in an "undemocratic way" and rejected Cheema's appointment.

Launching a veiled attack on top leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia from the stage he shared with the seven other dissident MLAs, Khaira said, "Punjab cannot be run by remote control."

Khaira said he does not accept the "dictatorial" approach adopted by the "subedars".

"I can sacrifice hundreds of such posts for the welfare of the people of Punjab," he said, addressing a sizeable gathering of supporters.

Khaira proposed forging a third front of like-minded parties to rid Punjab of the Congress and the Akali Dal as they had "ruined the state."

"Power and money is in play in Punjab politics today," he said.

He said he will start his journey by seeking blessings at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will visit all 22 districts in the state.

Rallies will be organised at various places, he said.

He thanked the NRIs for their support in bringing the volunteers together and added that the other major parties are perplexed with the response they were getting.

The other MLAs who expressed solidarity with Khaira are Kanwar Sandhu from Kharar, Nazar Singh Mansahia (Mansa), Kulwant Singh (Mehal Kalan), Baldev Singh (Jaitu), Pirmal Singh (Bhadaur), Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur) and Jagtar Singh Jagga (Raipur).

The party plunged into a crisis in Punjab when Khaira was removed from his post in the Assembly on July 26.

AAP MLA Kanwar Sandhu had earlier said 12-13 MLAs were expected to participate in the convention and claimed that the event was meant to "strengthen" the party.

However, a tweet posted on AAP Punjab's twitter handle had said, "AAP derives strength from it's volunteers, likewise every volunteer has only one hero i.e. Arvind Kejriwal.

"No volunteer will support a person who tries to break the emotional thread between Arvind Kejriwal & his army," it said.

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| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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