Dissident AAP MLAs defy party, declare Punjab unit ‘autonomous’

Dissident AAP MLAs defy party, declare Punjab unit ‘autonomous’

NEW DELHI: In an act of rebellion, a group of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira today declared the party’s Punjab unit autonomous and dissolved its current organisational structure.nnBut 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.nnAltogether, 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.nnThe AAP leadership had summoned all Punjab MLAs to Delhi today 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.nn”The Dalit card is a political gimmick to remove me”, Khaira said at the convention, referring to Dalit leader Harpal Singh Cheema appointment in his place.nnThe convention unanimously resolved that the party’s Punjab unit was autonomous, and will take its own decisions.nnIt dissolved the current organisational structure in the state and tasked the dissident MLAs and the convention organisers to frame a new one.nnOne of the resolutions said the existing organisational structure had eroded the AAP’s image and its base in the state.nnThe convention flayed Khaira’s removal as Leader of Opposition in an “undemocratic way” and rejected Cheema’s appointment.nnLaunching 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.”nnKhaira said he does not accept the “dictatorial” approach adopted by the “subedars”.nn”I can sacrifice hundreds of such posts for the welfare of the people of Punjab,” he said, addressing a sizeable gathering of supporters.nnKhaira 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.”nn”Power and money is in play in Punjab politics today,” he said.nHe said he will start his journey by seeking blessings at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and will visit all 22 districts in the state.nnRallies will be organised at various places, he said.nnHe 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.nnThe 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).nnThe party plunged into a crisis in Punjab when Khaira was removed from his post in the Assembly on July 26.nnAAP 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.nnHowever, 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.nn”No volunteer will support a person who tries to break the emotional thread between Arvind Kejriwal & his army,” it said.

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