CHANDIGARH: The Dalit card played by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal in appointing Harpal Singh Cheema as the leader of Opposition in Punjab doesn’t appear to have worked; the party’s state unit stands virtually split.
Defiant party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who previously held the post, proved his strength at the volunteer’s convention held on Thursday in Bathinda where AAP volunteers, including NRIs, participated in large numbers. Seven of the party’s 20 MLAs attended the convention.
The party’s national leadership seems to have decided not to take action against Khaira and the other MLAs for now, fearing further backlash but plans to hold a series of meetings soon to counter the impact of the convention.
Dr Balbir Singh, co-convener of AAP’s Punjab unit, said, “These are all misguided leaders and workers and they will soon come back. On August 13, a state-level meeting is being held which will be addressed by Manish Sisodia, in-charge of Punjab affairs.”
A buoyed up Khaira has, however, has intensified his pitch for declaring Punjab AAP an ‘autonomous’ unit. On the Khaira faction’s agenda is to organise a ‘third front’ comprising like-minded parties to confront the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance.