CHANDIGARH: It seems the troubles for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab are growing day by day, the party leadership in order to control factionalism in the state unit today 'unceremoniously' removed leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the post in a desperate effort to control factionalism in the state unit.
Khaira had been embroiled in controversy after AAP's Punjab Unit's co-president Balbir Singh accused him of accepting money from party workers. Then in a facebook last month, Khaira was in another controversy over his support to a referendum 2020 which is being for creating a separate state for the Sikhs.
Then Balbir had clarified it was personal comments of Khaira. All this has started when Kejriwal has given a written apology to the senior Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia to end defamation case filed by Majithia as Kejriwal during election campaigning has termed that drug trade was run under the patronage of Majithia.
At that time Khaira and AAP's Punjab President Bhagwant Mann has objected to the apology and termed it as a meek surrender. Then Mann had resigned from the post of state unit president but till date, his resignation has not been accepted.
But a senior leader on condition of anonymity said that soon the party will appoint a new state unit president also. An upset Khaira said that he lost the post for speaking the truth, "I have discharged my duty as Leader of Opposition with uttermost sincerity, dedication, and fearlessness towards Punjab and Punjabi's. If speaking the truth and espousing the cause of Punjab and Punjabi's and Sikhs cost me the LoP post. I'm prepared to let it go. Those at the helm have done what Congress, SAD-BJP alliance wanted,'' he said without naming Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. AAP's Punjab unit co-president Balbir Singh welcomed the move saying it was a decision of party MLAs.
"Whatever decision was taken by the MLAs of Aam Aadmi party, I welcome it. This is called internal democracy," said Singh. The party announced to change its leader of opposition in Punjab with Dirba MLA Harpal Singh Cheema appointed the new LoP, Cheema is Dalit legislator.
The party officially stated that a Dalit face from the state has been given responsibility. The national convener of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to the speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha requesting him to appoint Harpal Cheema as LOP.
Sources in the party said that Cheema has been chosen to develop leadership and also to give representation to the Dalits. The party is aiming for victory in forthcoming panchayat polls in September and Lok Sabha elections next year. Within the span of fifteen months, AAP has changed two Leader of Oppositions, first senior lawyer and legislator HS Phoolka had resigned months later from the post of LoP to fight court cases for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims due to conflict of interests.
In his place, Khaira was appointed LoP and now he has been replaced Cheema. Thus the third AAP leader to hold the post after AAP emerged as the largest opposition party in last year's assembly elections.