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Punjab assembly Speaker to write to Centre on denial of Canada entry to two AAP MLAs

“Both Canada and India are Commonwealth countries and have close association. Therefore, such incidents are a setback to efforts to strengthen the ties between the two countries.”

punjab Updated: Jul 24, 2018 22:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab assembly Speaker,AAP MLAs,denial of Canada entry
Punjab assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh.

Punjab assembly speaker Rana KP Singh has decided to take up with the central government the issue of denial of Canada entry to two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs from the state.

Rana KP said he will write to the Union minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj to draw her attention towards the “unfortunate” episode in which two elected members of the state assembly, Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Rupnagar MLA Amarjit Singh Sandoa, were not allowed entry into Canada. “Both Canada and India are Commonwealth countries and have close association. Therefore, such incidents are a setback to efforts to strengthen the ties between the two countries. I will urge the minister to raise the matter with Canada at the appropriate level,” he said, expressing disappointment over the episode.

The speaker stated this after a delegation of AAP MLAs, led by leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, met him to take up the issue with the ministry of external affairs. Both Sandhwan and Sandoa were also present. “I had already made up my mind about writing to the Government of India on this issue,” he told the AAP members.

The two MLAs, who reached Ottawa on Saturday, had earlier said that they were refused entry due to a communication gap regarding the purpose of their visit and placed on a flight back to India. Sandhwan, grandnephew of former President Zail Singh, was visiting his sister, Harpreet Gahla, who has been living in Canada for 13 years. Sandoa was accompanying him.

Khaira later termed the denial of entry to the two MLAs an “insult” to the state assembly. “Sandoa and Sandhwan travelled to Canada after completing all formalities, but were refused entry and had to return. This amounts to harassment. We requested the speaker to take it up so that there is no repeat of this incident in future,” he said. All AAP MLAs, except HS Phoolka, Baljinder Kaur and Manjit Singh, attended the meeting.

The leader of opposition also said the government should make public the findings of inquiries conducted into the Bargari incident and Maur blast. Asked whether state unit co-president Balbir Singh’s allegation against him was also discussed in the MLAs’ meeting, Khaira said he had explained his side to members but would not comment as it was an internal matter of the party. “It will not be appropriate as I have sought an inquiry in the matter,” he said, referring to his complaint to Delhi deputy chief minister and in-charge of Punjab affairs Manish Sisodia.

In a video on Facebook last week, Khaira had alleged a conspiracy in the party to remove him from the post and lambasted Balbir for accusing him of taking cash from party workers. While most MLAs were in favour of dealing with the issue on party forum, one or two members felt the issue got blown up after the video was put on social media. Khaira told the members that he went on social media because he was getting calls from people about the state co-chief’s allegation. Another legislator said the party leaders needed to bury their differences and fight jointly on issues of public interest.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 21:56 IST