AAP picks Sukhpal Khaira as leader of opposition in Punjab
On 11 July 2017, former leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly HS Phoolka had submitted his resignation from the post to speaker Rana KP Singh.punjab Updated: Jul 20, 2017 21:44 IST
Congress-turned-Aam Aadmi Party legislator Sukhpal Khaira has been appointed as the new leader of opposition in Punjab assembly. The post had fallen vacant following the resignation of Supreme Court lawyer HS Phoolka as he could not fight cases of victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots owing to the post being an office of profit with cabinet rank and perks.
The Bholath MLA was among the three names recommended by Phooka to succeed him. He emerged as the party’s obvious choice being a Jat Sikh leader with legislative experience. The other two names suggested by Phoolka --- Sunam MLA Aman Arora and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu -- are first-timers.
Khaira also had the backing of the AAP’s ally, Bains brothers of the Lok Insaf Party. Simarjeet Bains and Khaira were both expelled from last month’s budget session and have been working in tandem. The social media-savvy politician, who was suspended for live streaming assembly proceedings during the session, announced his appointment by going live on Facebook.
Khaira started his political innings by losing the Bholath seat as a Congress candidate twice to former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) minister Bibi Jagir Kaur, a Badal loyalist and his bitter political rival. He won it the first time in 2007 but lost it in 2012 a third time to her. However, Kaur could not named as candidate by the SAD in 2017 state polls following her conviction for being part of the conspiracy in murder of her daughter Harpreet Kaur in 2000. Khaira had been able remain in limelight by his sensational disclosures on against Kaur in the murder case.
Khaira had resigned as party’s chief whip in the assembly after his claim on the state presidency of AAP was overlooked for the controversial Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann. But since it is Hindus and Dalits who had propelled Congress to power in Punjab, the AAP had to find a Jat-Sikh to lead the party in the state. The party has given representation to Hindus by appointing its sole Hindu MLA, Aman Arora, as co-president.