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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Khaira makes U-turn, withdraws his resignation as MLA

Rana KP said that Khaira withdrew his resignation, but did not give any reason for it

india Updated: Oct 23, 2019 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) president and former leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Tuesday withdrew his resignation from the membership of the state assembly.

The Bholath MLA sent a written communication to Punjab vidhan sabha speaker Rana KP Singh on a day he was called for personal hearing to ascertain that his resignation was “voluntary and genuine”.

Rana KP said that Khaira withdrew his resignation, but did not give any reason for it. “The rules (Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha) provide that the MLA can withdraw his resignation at any stage before it is accepted,” he told reporters here. Khaira, who rebelled against the AAP leadership and then quit the party, had tendered his resignation from the state assembly a day before he filed his nomination papers from the Bathinda seat in April 2019 during the Lok Sabha elections which he lost badly.

DISQUALIFICATION PROCEEDINGS TO CONTINUE

The withdrawal of resignation will have no bearing on the disqualification proceedings against the rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader under the anti-defection law. The speaker had sought Khaira’s written reply on a disqualification petition filed by the AAP, but he sought more time, saying he was busy with arrangements for his son’s wedding on November 10 and would submit his reply later.

A delegation of AAP led by leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema had submitted a petition to the speaker on January 16, 2019, demanding Khaira’s disqualification under the under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) for voluntarily giving up the party’s membership and floating his separate party. The speaker had also called two other rebel AAP MLAs – Amarjit Singh Sandoa and Nazar Singh Manshahia – for personal hearing but they did not turn up.

‘READY TO CONTEST DISQUALIFCATION PLEA’

In a written statement, Khaira, while trying to justify his U-turn, said the AAP leaders were free to prove their disqualification case against him, but he would give a befitting reply to them at an appropriate time. The PEP chief said he took the decision keeping in mind the “sentiments” of people of his constituency who had approached in large numbers and advised him not to force a bypoll by resigning from his seat. “It is an open secret that byelections only vitiate the atmosphere through blatant distribution of liquor, drugs, money etc, besides causing a huge loss to the public exchequer,” he said, blaming AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal for his rebellion and split in the AAP.

AAP, SAD CALL KHAIRA AN ‘OPPORTUNIST’

The Bholath MLA’s decision to withdraw his resignation came in for sharp criticism from other parties. Cheema, in a hard-hitting response, called him a “rank opportunist”. “Khaira repeatedly said that he can sacrifice any position for his ideals and never tired of preaching others, but he has shown his real face by withdrawing his resignation. People will never forget and forgive his (Khaira’s) brand of political doublespeak,” he said.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema also demanded immediate disqualification of Khaira and three other rebel AAP legislators for leaving their parent party. He said that Khaira’s attempt to backtrack from his resignation amounted to playing a fraud upon the Constitution. BJP leader Tarun Chugh accused Khaira of creating a “new drama” and sought his disqualification at the earliest.