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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

AAP dissidents will meet same fate as Akali stalwart Tohra: Bhagwant Mann 

Hours after dissident MLA Sukhpal Khaira accused Bhagwant Mann of being “greedy for chief minister’s chair in the 2017 state polls” at a rally in Moga, the Sangrur MP raised his doubts over the political future of Khaira, without naming him.

punjab Updated: Sep 03, 2018 09:15 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
Punjab leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann during a rally in Bathinda on Sunday.
Punjab leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann during a rally in Bathinda on Sunday.(HT Photo)
         

With the Lok Sabha elections less than a year away, a straight divide in the Punjab’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to the fore publically on Sunday.

Hours after dissident MLA Sukhpal Khaira accused Bhagwant Mann of being “greedy for chief minister’s chair in the 2017 state polls” at a rally in Moga, the Sangrur MP raised his doubts over the political future of Khaira, without naming him.

Mann, in contrast to Khaira’s scathing attack on him, sounded defensive as he never named Khaira in his speech at a public meeting in rebel AAP MLA Jagdev Singh Kamalu’s Maur constituency, adjoining Bathinda.

“The party is bigger than a person, and let me tell you that those going against the party’s interests will meet the same fate as Akali stalwart late Gurcharan Singh Tohra did, who, along with 13 MLAs, had to return to Akali Dal after a rebellion,” Mann said.

It may be recalled that Tohra had caused a vertical split in the Akali Dal by forming Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal with the support of 13 rebel MLAs, five of whom were ministers in the Badal government (1997-2002).

“The people of Punjab must stand united with AAP to throw away both the Congress and the Akali Dal,” Mann said, as he accused the Badals and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh of being hand-in-glove.

“Those who rebel against their party will meet the same fate as Tohra did who had to come back to the party fold. I am a soldier of the party,” Mann reiterated.

MLA count

Against the six MLAs sharinf space with Khaira at the Moga rally, Bhagwant was accompanied by four MLAs —party’s leader in the assembly Harpal Cheema, Baljinder Kaur from Talwandi Sabo, Rupinder Kaur Ruby from Bathinda Rural and Budh Ram from Budhlada.