Kejriwal’s apology to Majithia: Split-AAP move gets MLAs’ thumbs down

Of the 20 party MLAs in the state, the 12 this newspaper spoke to rejected any move to form a separate party or an independent group within AAP .

punjab Updated: Mar 18, 2018 22:59 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Kejriwal apology,AAP Punjab,Bikram Singh Majithia
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia with Punjab AAP MLAs during a meeting at Sisodia's residence in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

The majority of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators in Punjab are opposed to the proposal of splitting the party in the wake of Delhi chief minister and party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to former Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia over drug charges to settle a defamation case.

Of the 20 party MLAs in the state, the 12 this newspaper spoke to rejected any move to form a separate party or an independent group within AAP despite being miffed over not being consulted or informed about the apology tendered to the leader of a rival party in the state. However, there are some such as Nihal Singh Wala MLA Manjit Singh who want the central leadership to give more freedom to the state unit to take its own decisions.

Their views are significant in view of the talk of splitting the party by a section of MLAs in the state after the party chief’s self-goal. On Friday, 18 MLAs, who met in Chandigarh, had discussed the possibility of breaking away from AAP to form a separate unit. The final decision was deferred.

After the two-round meeting that lasted three-and-a-half hours, Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu had told reporters that there was no consensus on breaking away as several MLAs said they wanted to consult their supporters before making any further move. Later, two MLAs had claimed that 14 MLAs were in favour of splitting the party. The AAP has 20 MLAs and any split without attracting the anti-defection law is only possible if 14 (two-thirds of the two strength) of them come together to form a separate unit.

However, the number of legislators in favour of breaking away was exaggerated in all probability.

When contacted, 12 MLAs, including Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, HS Phoolka, Budh Ram, Aman Arora, Kulwant Singh Pandori, Baljinder Kaur, Jagdev Singh, Amarjit Singh Sandoa and Harpal Singh Cheema, gave the thumbs down to any move to split the party.

Sandhwan, who is MLA from Kotkapura, said that any talk of splitting the party was not acceptable. “The people showed trust in the AAP primarily because of its top leader. When I met him (Kejriwal) on Saturday, he told me why he expressed regret for his remark. All this talk of breaking away is not done,” he said, accusing a section of his party colleagues of trying to split the party.

Manuke, deputy leader of AAP legislature party in the state assembly, said she would continue to be in the party. “If one breaks their house, it does not benefit anyone,” she said. Most of these legislators also went to Delhi for the meeting convened by Kejriwal and Punjab affairs in-charge Manish Sisodia on the issue. However, Mansa MLA Nazar Singh Manshahia, who stayed away from the Delhi meeting, said he would make up his mind after meeting volunteers and party workers in his constituency. Other MLAs could not be contacted, as either their phones were switched off or they did not respond to calls.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 22:59 IST