Chandigarh, Aug 2 (IANS) Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab unit Co-President Balbir Singh on Thursday said that party legislators and leaders who attended the convention in Bathinda are “misguided” and hoped that they will fall in line to strengthen the party.
Balbir Singh said that holding a convention under the AAP banner without consulting state and central leadership is “illegal and the leaders must avoid such activities in future”.
“These leaders are marching on the road that leads to nowhere,” he said in the first official reaction from the party to a volunteers’ convention called by AAP rebels led by former Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
Khaira and six other AAP lawmakers had attended the convention, where different resolutions were adopted.
“Lesser than expected people attended the convention, despite efforts made by the Akalis-BJP-RSS combine and the Bains brothers (of Lok Insaaf Party). The claims that around 14 MLAs attended the event also fell flat,” Balbir Singh said.
He appealed to these leaders to “come and talk to the party central leadership and work for the betterment of the state”.
He said that the MLAs and state office-bearers have suggested to the AAP central leadership to not take disciplinary action against those who attended the convention.
Led by Khaira, who organised the Bathinda convention on Thursday, the AAP rebels moved and passed resolutions which gave ‘autonomy’ to the AAP’s Punjab unit, dissolved the organisational structure of the state unit and rejected the unceremonious removal of Khaira as Leader of Opposition in Assembly by the Delhi leadership.
Eleven out of the 20 AAP legislators in the Punjab Assembly visited Delhi on Thursday and had a breakfast meeting with AAP National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The AAP central leadership has dubbed the event as an “anti-party” activity.
With its Punjab unit facing a crisis, the AAP on Tuesday blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bains brothers for trying to split the party.
The AAP central leadership had picked up Dalit leader Harpal Singh Cheema as leader of the Opposition after Khaira’s removal.
The AAP became the main opposition in Punjab Assembly after the elections in March last year, winning 20 seats in the 117-member house.