Rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who resigned from the party two days ago, on Tuesday announced a new political outfit, ‘Punjabi Ekta Party’.
Addressing a press conference, Khaira said it will be Punjab-centric and a regional party.
Six rebel AAP legislators — Kanwar Singh Sandhu, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Jagtar Singh Hissowal, Pirmal Singh Khalsa, Master Baldev Singh, and Nazar Singh Manshahia — were present on the occasion.
Earlier on Sunday, Khaira had resigned from the primary membership of the Aam Aadmi Party. In a letter to party chief Arvind Kejriwal, Khaira said the AAP had “totally deviated” from the ideology and principles on which it was formed after the Anna Hazare movement.
The two-time MLA from Bholath, Khaira said circumstances have compelled him to float a new regional party.
“After independence, our own countrymen did not give Punjab its due. We have been cheated on the issue of water and Chandigarh (joint capital of Punjab and Haryana). Operation Blue Star and 1984 anti-Sikh riots cannot be forgotten,” he said.
Khaira said discrimination is being done with Punjabis on all fronts by India. “Army recruitment has been reduced,” he alleged.
The former Leader of Opposition said Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal are in the same boat and farmers were committing suicides due to the wrong policies of traditional parties.
“Families of Parkash Singh Badal and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh exploited Punjab. The state’s industry was damaged by Center as neighbouring states were given tax concessions,” Khaira said.
Outlining the goals of Punjabi Ekta Party, Khaira said it will find a solution to farmer suicides, seek cash transfer of subsidies to farmers and farm labour, fight corruption, bring conflict of interest law, arrest families of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Parkash Singh Badal on corruption charges. He said properties of the corrupt will be confiscated.
Besides this, employment will be provided to youth and all transport business will be nationalised.
Khaira, who revolted against the party following his removal as the Leader of Opposition, was suspended from the AAP in November last year for anti-party activities.