Harvinder Singh Phoolka, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Ludhiana, has dared Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal to prove the allegations that he (Phoolka) had charged money from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to fight cases of victims of 1984 riots.
“I give Sukhbir one week’s time to prove the allegations. If he succeeds, I promise to withdraw my candidature for the Lok Sabha elections and will also quit as a lawyer,” Phoolka said.
Sukhbir had on Monday alleged that Phoolka had charged money from various Sikh groups to fight cases of victims of 1984 riots. The AAP candidate clarified that as a lawyer he was entitled to charge fee for fighting cases, but he actually did not charge anything in all cases of riot victims that he handled. He stated that initially he had thought of serving a legal notice on Sukhbir, but then he decided against it and had left it to the people to give their verdict.
“Moreover, I trust the media, which took forward my fight against injustice and I am sure of an impartial expose in this case also,” Phoolka said. An emotionally charged Phoolka could not control his tears while interacting with the media and excused himself for a few minutes to calm down. Later, he went on, “If Sukhbir is not able to prove the allegations, he should step down from the chair of deputy CM and also from the post of SAD president.”
He stated that a person who tried to malign the image of a crusader fighting for rights of riot victims was unfit to chair a party like the SAD, known for its struggle and sacrifice for the nation. “Chhod Akali Dal nahin toh janta tujhe joote maar kar nikalegi (Leave SAD or else you will be booted out by the public),” Phoolka added.
Offers of help
Various groups of people were seen hovering around the AAP’s main office in Sarabha Nagar here, offering support in the form of space, vehicles and manpower. However, AAP members are exercising caution before accepting help so as to keep anti-social elements away.