Rebel AAP leaders launch new alliance in Punjab

Chandigarh: The rebel leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others on Sunday launched a new political front in Punjab. It has been named Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA).

The PDA was launched formally at a rally in Patiala, around 75 km from here, in the presence of Patiala Member of Parliament (MP) Dharam Vira Gandhi, former Leader of Opposition and legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) legislators Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state president Rashpal Raju.

Khaira said the new political formation of “like-minded leaders” aims to clean the corrupt polity of Punjab.

Khaira, who was removed as LoP by the AAP central leadership in August this year, and suspended from the party last month, said the alliance would aim to liberate Punjab from the clutches of corrupt traditional parties and the corrupt feudal families.

“The actions of these corrupt parties and leaders had ruined a glorious state like Punjab for their lust to amass ill-gotten wealth by looting the people. Punjab is facing a colossal debt of Rs 2.5 lakh crore, farmers and labourers are committing suicide, lakhs of unemployed youth have taken to drugs or are migrating to foreign shores because of hopelessness, frustration and dejection,” Khaira said.

Addressing the gathering, Dharam Vira Gandhi condemned the Central government for encroaching upon the rights of the states, including Punjab through gross centralisation.

Gandhi, who was suspended from the AAP in 2015, said the larger aim of the PDA would be to strive for a federal India and a democratic Punjab.

He said it was unfair for the central government to unilaterally implement schemes for education, healthcare, rural development, MNREGA, without taking into consideration the aspirations of the people of the state.

Other leaders criticised the BJP-led Central government and the Congress government in Punjab for failing to fulfil promises made before the elections.

The LIP was an alliance partner of the AAP earlier.