Sukhpal Singh Khaira(HT File)
Sukhpal Singh Khaira(HT File)

Respect Arvind Kejriwal, but we’re not his slaves, says Sukhpal Singh Khaira

Barnala Meet: With three MLAs by side, AAP leader says central leadership promoting “button culture” in party; local legislator gives meeting a miss.
By BB Goyal | Hindustan Times, Barnala
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2018 09:18 AM IST

Terming his sacking as leader of opposition (LoP) in the Punjab assembly as arbitrary and undemocratic, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Sunday said he respected his party supremo Arvind Kejriwal but that does not mean others are his slaves.

The Bholath MLA, who was in Barnala on Sunday to garner support of party workers for his convention at Bathinda on August 2, accused the party’s central leadership of introducing what he termed as a “button culture” as a new form of democracy.

Khaira said this in an ostensible pointer to a tweet by AAP Punjab affairs in-charge Manish Sisodia announcing the former’s removal as LoP. he claimed that the August 2 convention is to strengthen the party, not for revolt.

He was accompanied by party MLAs Pirmal Singh (Bhadaur), Nazar Singh Mansahia (Mansa), Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur) and AAP district president Kuldeep Singh Kala Dhillon. He claimed that out of 20 AAP MLAs in Punjab, nine were with him to support his cause.

Khaira said, “AAP had informed the Vidhan Sabha speaker on July 26 regarding my removal. It clearly was a pre-mediated decision.”

Khaira said he was not for designation, but the manner of his removal from the post was humiliating. “We respect Kejriwal, but it does not mean that we are his slaves or we do not have self-respect,” he said while addressing AAP workers here.

“Even if a Class 4 employee is to be removed from any post, he is served with a 15-days notice. But in my case, our central leadership took it to Twitter to axe me in a hurried manner. As per the protocol, my post was next to Punjab chief minister. Neither the AAP central leadership point out at any shortcoming in my working nor did they even call a meeting of party MLAs. This is way too insulting,” said Khaira.

“We want self-governance in Punjab, but the central leadership is hell bent on taking even petty decisions. All parties ganged up against me but when our own people become part of the conspiracy, it hurts,” he added.

On AAP MLAs Gurmeet Singh Hayer (Barnala) and Kulwant Singh Pandori (Mehal Kalan) being conspicuous by their absence, Khaira said, “If they are for just completion of their tenure and securing a pension, it is okay to keep silent. But if they can hear the voice and feelings of people, they should have guts to call a spade a spade.”

Maur MLA Kamalu said, “Our central leadership has thrown a heavy brick at us. We cannot let it go this way.” Bhadaur MLA Pirmal said some people are propagating that they are trying to split the party but that is not the case.

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee district president Makhan Sharma said, “The rift in leadership at all level is quite clear. AAP’s graph is declining at a fast pace. Recently, three AAP MLAs of the district could not gather 100 people at a dharna.”

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