AAP rebels hold convention in Punjab

Chandigarh: In an open challenge to the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) central leadership, ousted Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira organised a party convention in Punjab’s Bathinda town on Thursday.

Addressing the gathering, Khaira said the convention had been organised to show that the AAP leadership and activists in Punjab had the freedom to express their opinion.

Reports said that 11 out of the 20 AAP legislators in the Punjab Assembly were in Delhi while the others turned up for the convention.

“My fight is for the interests of Punjab. I am not after any post. I will speak for all Punjabis. This state has been ruined by the misrule of the Badal family and Amarinder Singh. This is not my fight but the fight for Punjab,” Khaira said.

The convention passed resolutions disbanding the party’s Punjab unit’s organisational structure and announcing that it had the right to take its own decisions in the interest of the state.

One of the resolutions questioned Khaira’s sudden removal as the Leader of Opposition last week and demanded a meeting of the party legislators in Chandigarh on the issue.

The AAP central leadership has dubbed the event as an “anti-party” activity.

With its Punjab unit facing a crisis, the AAP on Tuesday blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bains brothers for trying to split the party.

The AAP central leadership had picked up Dalit leader Harpal Singh Cheema as leader of the Opposition after Khaira’s removal.

The AAP emerged as the main opposition in Punjab in the assembly election in March last year, winning 20 seats in the 117-member assembly.