A failed attempt at reconciliation, battle for supremacy and moves to checkmate colleagues-turned opponent. marked day one of the Punjab Assembly session.
In the much divided Aam Aadm Party (AAP) the rebel group led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira showed determination to prove its supremacy in and outside the House.
Due to the latest rebellion, which has seen eight party legislators form an “autonomous” group under Khaira has created clear division in 20-member legislature party, AAP appears to be in no position to effectively play the role of the main opposition party in the Assembly.
Even the sitting arrangement for AAP MLAs in the Assembly has become bone of contention between the two party groups. The Khaira group alleges the new leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema is humiliating them with the new sitting arrangement.
“We (rebel group) have been given back seats. These small headed people are leaving no chance to belittle colleagues,” a furious Khaira said after the session was adjourned for the day following obituary references.
Setting their demand for a meeting of all 20 MLAs in Chandigarh to elect new leader of Opposition as condition for any reconciliation, Khaira group ruled out any collaboration with Cheema group in the session.
Earlier, in the day Cheema group’s emissary and party legislator HS Phoolka tried to convince Khaira to take his front seat in the Assembly. But Khaira rejected the offer and set in the back rows with seven other rebel AAP legislators protesting the changes in seats of his group’s other MLAs. At the end of the session, both groups took separate exit routes.
In fact, Phoolka along with three other party MLAs met Khaira at his residence to convince him for joint efforts in the House in order to fulfill the expectations of the Punjabis from them.
He urged Khaira to fight unitedly to corner the Punjab government over the recent report on sacrilege cases in the state.
“Due to this in-fight, AAP volunteers are like children caught between divorcing parents. They don’t know whom to join for a better tomorrow,” said AAP legislature party deputy leader Sarvjit Kaur Manuke who was with Phoolka in the meeting with Khaira. “It’s for the sake of our volunteers that we went to Khaira. For the sake of Punjabis, we should at least work as a team in the House,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the rebel group didn’t attend the legislature group’s meeting called by Cheema who maintained that Khaira group members may not get time from AAP quota to speak in the House if they fail to communicate with him for the same.