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AAP admits ‘efforts to break party’ in Punjab

The AAP became the main opposition in Punjab Assembly after the elections in March last year, winning 20 seats in the 117-member House.

IANS | New Delhi |

¬†With its Punjab unit’s infighting coming to the fore in recent days, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday admitted that certain leaders were making “efforts to break the party”.

Following recent developments in the highly factionalised Punjab unit, the group owing allegiance to the AAP central leadership in Delhi on Thursday announced that the meeting of state party leaders with AAP Punjab in-charge and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, slated for August 13, has been postponed.

This was decided at a meeting of the AAP district presidents, ‘halqa’ presidents and other wing presidents here on Thursday. AAP Punjab co-president Balbir Singh, MP Bhagwant Mann, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema and legislator Meet Hayer attended the meeting.

“The problems being faced by the party at present and possible solutions for same were discussed during the meeting. A majority of office-bearers suggested to take action against Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu (both AAP legislators) for their efforts to break the party, but Bhagwant Mann said he will try to reach out to the leaders and to convince them.

“Mann said that MLAs are in touch with him and he is sure that they will fall in the line soon and work to strengthen the party,” a press release issued from the party headquarters here said.

Mann said that he will be meeting the people throughout the state in coming days and hold meetings in Bathinda, Faridkot, Mansa, Moga and Muktsar.

He said that he will not let the people from other parties to break the AAP.

“This is a testing time for the party workers and I am sure that the workers would not let me down. I have asked the NRIs to make people aware about mischievous ideas of few people to break the party,” Mann said addressing AAP office-bearers.

Not showing any signs of bowing down, the rebel AAP leadership on Tuesday announced its eight-member ad hoc Political Affairs Committee (PAC) for Punjab. The move was in line with the earlier announcement of the rebel camp, led by former LoP Sukhpal Singh Khaira, dissolving the organisational structure of the AAP Punjab unit at a rebel convention held in Bathinda last week.

Khaira, who was was removed by the AAP central leadership as the LoP recently, had said on Monday that he and his camp are not trying to break the AAP in Punjab.

Khaira and six other AAP lawmakers had attended the convention, where different resolutions were adopted. The AAP rebels moved and passed resolutions which gave “autonomy” to the AAP’s Punjab unit, dissolved the organisational structure of the state unit and rejected the unceremonious removal of Khaira as LoP.

With its Punjab unit facing a crisis, the AAP has blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bains brothers for trying to split the party.

The AAP became the main opposition in Punjab Assembly after the elections in March last year, winning 20 seats in the 117-member House.