Setting the stage for the formation of a new political party in Punjab ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday, on Monday said that he would announce a new party on Tuesday.
Khaira, who revolted against the party following his removal as the leader of Opposition and was suspended from the AAP in November last year for alleged anti-party activities, said the new party would work out an alliance with other ‘like-minded parties.’
Ruling out his resignation as AAP legislator from the Punjab Assembly even after quitting from the outfit, Khaira said the Assembly Speaker will decide on his status.
Addressing a press conference, Khaira claimed to have support of five to six legislators and made it clear that he and other AAP legislators, who belong to his group, will not resign from their assembly seats as they do not want to burden the exchequer with fresh elections on these seats and help the Shiromani Akali Dal get the status of main opposition party in the assembly.
He said the Punjab Democratic Alliance formed by them in December would meet later this week to decide on seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections.
Khaira also sought an amendment in the anti-defection law saying it was anti-democratic that only two-third members of a party could defect and not individuals.
He said stringent amendments in the Constitution regarding anti-defection had been brought about by the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party and the AAP was following it. “I want a national debate on this. Party presidents have become dictators or like kings of yore.”
Reacting to Khaira’s resignation the AAP on Sunday termed the move as opportunism and said that this will further strengthen the party.
AAP Member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann said Khaira’s resignation is just a political drama and if he wants to test his popularity he must resign from the assembly and contest from Bholath again. He repeated that other MLAs of the Khaira group are misguided and doors of the party are always open for them.
The AAP had won 20 seats in the 117-member assembly in the February 2017 assembly elections. Another AAP legislator, HS Phoolka, recently submitted his resignation to the assembly speaker.
Phoolka, on Monday, said that he would form a group to end the alleged politicisation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, he said that the people from the group would not contest SGPC elections. Phoolka, who has fought the legal battle for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, had last week resigned from the AAP.