Another Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA, Maheshinder Singh of Baghapurana, quit the party on Tuesday, the third MLA to do so in less than a week after the SAD announced its first list of candidates for the Punjab assembly polls due early next year.
He alleged that the police were being used to threaten him to support the party’s likely replacement candidate. “Police from Rampura Phul and Nihalsinghwala police stations came to my home on Tuesday morning and pressurised me to support the new candidate, threatening me with false cases,” Maheshinder said at a press conference in Moga. The likely replacement is Moga district planning committee chairman Tirath Singh Mahla, a close aide of agriculture minister Tota Singh, both of whom held a press conference later to rubbish the allegations.
Maheshinder — who follows in the footsteps of Sarwan Singh Phillaur and Avinash Chander — claimed that party president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had told him about the ticket denial a fortnight ago. “I did not mind that. But sending the police and threatening is not tolerable.” He also alleged that the police jammed his and his son Dharampal’s mobile phones for a few hours so that they won’t tell anybody.
About his next move, Maheshinder said he has taken the decision to quit hurriedly and so far has not decided anything about the future.
Later, terming him an opportunist, Tota Singh he already knew about the resignation as Maheshinder was disappointed with the party’s decision of replacing him. “The allegations of threat by the police are merely an excuse to leave the party. Is it possible that the police threaten a sitting MLA?”
Mahla too said Maheshinder quit only because Sukhbir “confirmed” his ticket from Baghapurana and Maheshinder got to know about this.
Meanwhile, Maheshinder has sent his resignation to Sukhbir.