CHANDIGARH: Nine days after AAP MLA H S Phoolka tendered his resignation as the leader of opposition, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators from Punjab on Thursday unanimously decided to have Bholath MLA and senior leader of the party Sukhpal Singh Khaira as the next leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly.
The AAP MLAs in a meeting convened by national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi unanimously conveyed to the latter that they would want to see Khaira to be the next LOP in Punjab.
The post of LOP fell vacant after Supreme Court lawyer and Dakha legislator HS Phoolka resigned last week.
Mansa MLA Nazar Mansahia who was also a contender withdrew in favour of Khaira. The party high command was not in favour of Khaira but they had to relent to the party legislators as the denial of position to Khaira might have led to division in the Punjab unit of the party.
When Phoolka resigned on July 11 he had then recommended the names of AAP MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu and Aman Arora for the job.
Sangrur member of parliament and state president Bhagwant Mann, state co-president and Sunam MLA Aman Arora and Phoolka welcomed the collective decision of the AAP MLAs in favour of Khaira immediately after Kejriwal announced that all AAP legislators preferred Khaira to be the next LOP.
Khaira later thanked Kejriwal and the AAP legislators for posing faith in his leadership and assured to discharge his duty with utmost dedication and responsibility.
Besides Kejriwal, Mann, Phoolka others from the central leadership present on the occasion included Faridkot MP, Sadhu Singh, Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh.
In March this year after taking over as leader of opposition in Punjab, Phoolka had written a letter to the chairman of Bar Council of Delhi in which he had stated that he had been designated as the leader of Opposition in Punjab which has the status of a cabinet minister and thus he had stopped his practice as an advocate and had sought permission to appear only in the riot cases.
Some time back the council had disallowed Phoolka to appear for the victims in several cases against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others. So to contest their cases he had resigned from the post.