Former AAP leader HS Phoolka says not joining any party after BJP’s ‘doors always open’ offer
HS Phoolka, who cited personal reasons for quitting AAP earlier this month, said converting an anti-corruption movement into a political party was a mistake.delhi Updated: Jan 14, 2019 12:02 IST
Union minister Vijay Goel on Sunday said the doors of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are always open to former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader HS Phoolka while felicitating him for fighting the legal battle for victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
But Phoolka,61, while acknowledging his “closeness” to several top BJP leaders, ruled out joining any political party at the moment. The senior advocate said he would not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, not even as an independent candidate. “The BJP has always supported me in my fight for anti-Sikh riots victims. From law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley to senior BJP leader LK Advani – all have supported my stand on it and helped me from time to time,” Phoolka told reporters during the event.
“But, I am clear that I am not joining any party,” he said.
Phoolka, who cited personal reasons for quitting AAP earlier this month, said converting an anti-corruption movement into a political party was a mistake.
The senior advocate has been vocal about his opposition to any alliance between the Congress and the AAP in Delhi, and his resignation fuelled speculation that the two parties were trying to forge an alliance to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Both the Congress and the AAP have distanced themselves from any talk of an alliance.
During the event, where Goel was felicitating several individuals for their contribution in social service, the Union minister said Phoolka was a “good man” and a “friend” who fought to give justice to the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. “It does not matter that he was associated with AAP. He is a good person who did a good thing. That is why we are felicitating him. People ask me, if he will join my party. BJP wants all good people should join it. The doors of the party (BJP) are always open for him. Now it is up to him if he wants to join,” Goel said.
Phoolka has pursued the anti-Sikh riot cases across courts for decades. Riots had broken out in many parts of the India including capital Delhi after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, by her two bodyguards.
Phoolka quit as the leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly last year when the Delhi Bar Council objected to his continuing with his practice citing conflict of interest. “This [pursuing the cases] was more important to me,” he said.
On December 17, the high court convicted and sentenced former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to spend the remainder of his life in jail for his role in the anti-Sikh riots. In November, a lower court sentenced one man to death while sending another to life imprisonment for their role in the riots.
First Published: Jan 14, 2019 12:02 IST