Having failed to convince disgruntled MLAs to cancel their August 2 volunteers’ convention, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday continued to play the Dalit card by terming the Opposition against the new Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, as anti-Dalit.

Taking on the former ally Lok Insaf Party (LIP), which is supporting the nine AAP MLAs in their fight against party high command over Khaira’s removal as leader of Opposition, the AAP Punjab slammed LIP leader Simarjeet Singh Bains for ‘insulting’ Cheema, a Dalit.

This was after Bains referred Cheema as ‘AAP’s pappu’ (small time leader) during a TV interview. He was quoted having said the AAP was appointing Pappus by replacing a person like Khaira who has been fighting for Punjab and Punjabis.

The statement drew a sharp reaction with even Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, terming the LIP leader’s views on Dalits as “disgusting”.

“The Bains brothers have such disgusting views on Dalits. It is very shameful. Bains should ask the entire Dalit community for forgiveness. BJP, Congress, Akali Dal and Bains, all have such views on Dalits. They will always commit crimes against Dalits. It is precisely against this mindset that the AAP has declared a Dalit as the next LoP in Punjab,” Kejriwal said.

In a tweet, AAP Punjab also condemned Bains’ remarks against Cheema. “This statement completely exposes their feudal mindset. Dalits and working class of Punjab will never forgive them for insulting their entire community,” AAP Punajb said.

In another Tweet, AAP Punjab condemned the derogatory statement by Simarjit Bains against Cheema. “He (Bains) has insulted the entire Dalit community with these remarks. These comments prove beyond doubt that they are anti-poor and antidalit. People of Punjab will never forgive them,” it said. The tweet was re-tweeted by Kejriwal.

These comments against LIP’s Bains comes two days after the AAP Punjab on Saturday accused LIP leaders Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjeet Singh Bains – who are brothers and the only two MLAs of the party – of trying to break AAP in Punjab.

The AAP leadership on Sunday tried to quell the rebellion, over its decision to sack Sukhpal Singh Khaira as Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, by holding a meeting with party’s nine members of legislative Assembly (MLAs) in New Delhi.

But the disgruntled MLAs refused to budge from their stand for review of the undemocratic decision to remove Khaira as Leader of Opposition and appoint Cheema to the post.

Wary of the August 2 convention called by rebel MLAs to discuss the AAP’s internal issues as well as of Punjab, the party’s in-chrage of the state Manish Sisodia tried hard to make the group drop the planned convention but they refused.