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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

Lok Sabha election: Rebel AAP MLAs by his side, Sukhpal Khaira hits campaign trail

Khaira says wants to free Punjab from family rule of Badals and Amarinder Singh; dares Harsimrat, Manpreet for a debate at Badal village

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 25, 2019 22:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bathinda/Mansa
Punjab Ekta Party president Sukhpal Singh Khaira along with other leaders during a road show in Bathinda.
Punjab Ekta Party president Sukhpal Singh Khaira along with other leaders during a road show in Bathinda.(HT Photo)

Flanked by rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) chief and Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Monday kickstarted his parliamentary election campaign by holding a roadshow in the Bathinda constituency.

The roadshow started at Dhepai village in Mansa district and passed through the towns of Mansa, Maur and Kotshamir before culminating at Talwandi Sabo.

Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, who is suspended from AAP and has formed Punjab Manch, AAP legislators Nazar Singh Manshahia (Mansa), Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur), Pirmal Singh (Bhadaur) accompanied Khaira. Gearing up Khaira’s campaign, his as many as 10 meetings are scheduled in Budhalada assembly segment on Tuesday.

The rebel AAP MLAs have been supporting Khaira after his unceremonious removal as leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha. Dr Gandhi’s Punjab Manch is part of the Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) floated by Khaira and the Bains brothers of the Lok Insaaf Party.

Khaira said, “I want to free Punjab from the family rule of the Badals and Amarinder Singh. People of Punjab are suffering due to unemployment, drug trafficking, farmer suicides and corruption. Things have come to such a pass that minor girls are also getting hooked to drugs. Such is the situation that the youth from Punjab is migrating to other countries.”

Taking a dig at Justice Zora Singh (retired), AAP candidate from the Jalandhar segment, he said Zora acting on the directions of the Badals during the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government didn’t indict the police personnel for firing on anti-sacrilege protesters at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura in 2015 and gave them a clean chit.

“It is sad that AAP gave ticket to such a person who did harm to the justice in the Bargari sacrilege and the Behbal Kalan police firing cases,” he said.

He challenged Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal to have an open debate with him on the issues concerning the state in Badal village. He said it reflects the weakness of the Akali Dal and the Congress that these parties have not decided about the candidate from Bathinda yet.