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3 AAP MLAs join Congress ahead of 2022 Assembly polls

Reacting to the decision of Bholath legislator Khaira and two other AAP MLAs to throw in their lot with the Congress party today, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said “the cat is out of the bag”.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

In a boost to the ruling Congress ahead of early 2022 Assembly polls, three rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators Thursday joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at a low-key event at the CM’s residence.

These three Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) include Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira along with Bhadaur MLA Pirmal Singh and Maur MLA Jagdev Singh Kamalu.

Khaira had served as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly after getting elected on AAP ticket in 2017 polls. The two-time MLA had earlier quit the Congress in December 2015 to join AAP which made him the Leader of Opposition.

But post his removal from the post by the party high command, Khaira resigned from the primary membership of the AAP in January 2019 and had also floated his own outfit, Punjabi Ekta Party. The two MLAs who joined the Congress with him were also part of the Punjabi Ekta Party.

The CM inducted the three legislators before going to Delhi for a meeting with the three-member panel formed to resolve the infighting in the Punjab unit of the Congress.

“Chief Minister @capt_amarinder Singh before leaving for Delhi today welcomed @SukhpalKhaira MLA and former Leader of Opposition and his two AAP MLA colleagues namely Jagdev Singh Kamalu, MLA Maur and Pirmal Singh Dhaula, MLA Bhadaur into the party fold,” according a tweet of the Punjab Congress.

The AAP state president and Member of Parliament, Bhagwant Mann said Khaira had split from the party about two years ago and since then he had formed his own party, but the people rejected him.

Mann said the AAP had been repeatedly requesting the Punjab Assembly Speaker for dismissal of Khaira from the Assembly, but he did not take any action against him at the behest of the government. The AAP leaders said Khaira was just pretending to be benevolent to the people, but he had made his intention known by standing with the anti-Punjab party. They said Khaira had betrayed his family and the Panth devotees by standing with those responsible for the 1984 massacre.

Reacting to the decision of Bholath legislator Khaira and two other AAP MLAs to throw in their lot with the Congress party today, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said “the cat is out of the bag”.

“This only goes on to show that the Congress and AAP are essentially on the same page. Earlier Khaira, who had contested the 2017 Assembly elections on an AAP ticket after leaving the Congress, had formed the Punjab Ekta Party (PEP). Both Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh Khalsa supported Khaira initially before Manshaia joined the Congress party. Now all three of them are officially in the Congress camp proving AAP and Congress were in an informal alliance in the state,” he added.