Khaira to float new party, won’t quit Assembly seat

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Chandigarh, Jan 7 (IANS) Rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who resigned from the party on Sunday, said on Monday that he would announce a new political party on Tuesday.

Khaira, who was suspended from the AAP in November last year for anti-party activities, said the new party would work out an alliance with other like-minded parties.

Ruling out his resignation from the Punjab Assembly even after quitting from the AAP, Khaira said the Assembly Speaker will decide on his status.

Khaira, who claims support of 5-6 AAP legislators, told the media here on Monday that he and others will not resign from their Assembly seats as they do not want to burden the exchequer with fresh elections on these seats.

The AAP’s Punjab unit leadership had on Sunday demanded Khaira’s resignation from the Assembly after he quit the party.

Reacting to Khaira’s resignation, senior leaders of the AAP Punjab unit described Khaira as an “opportunist” and said that his exit “would would only strengthen the organisation”.

AAP Member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann had said: “Khaira was sacked (as Leader of Opposition) due to indiscipline. He continued to make statements against party (AAP) leadership. He has always done politics centred around himself which is not acceptable to the party.”

Describing Khaira’s resignation as a “mere drama”, Mann challenged Khaira to resign as legislator and seek re-election from his Assembly constituency. About AAP legislators who are still in the Khaira camp, Mann said the party’s doors are always open for them.

The AAP got 20 seats in the 117-member assembly in the February 2017 assembly elections. H.S. Phoolka recently submitted his resignation as a legislator to the Assembly Speaker.

Phoolka also quit the primary membership of the AAP last week.

Citing “dictatorial attitude” of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, Khaira on Sunday resigned from the party’s primary membership.

“I am constrained to forward my resignation from the primary membership of AAP, as the party has totally deviated from the ideology and principles on which it was formed post Anna Hazare movement,” Khaira wrote in his letter to Kejriwal.

“I am saddened to state that your dictatorial attitude has shattered the dreams of Indians and the Punjabis for a clean alternative to the decayed and rotten system. As a result, almost all prominent leaders of the party, beginning from Prashant Bhushan to H.S. Phoolka, have either quit the party or you have thrown them out,” he said.

–IANS

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