In a boost to the dissident AAP legislators in Punjab led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Garhshankar MLA Jai Krishan Singh Rodi today announced that he is joining their group and accused the central leadership of ignoring the voice of the state unit.
In a boost to the dissident AAP legislators in Punjab led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Garhshankar MLA Jai Krishan Singh Rodi today announced that he is joining their group and accused the central leadership of ignoring the voice of the state unit. With the inclusion of Rodi, Khaira group now has eight legislators on its side. Apart from Khaira, others are Kanwar Sandhu (Kharar), Primal Singh (Bhadaur), Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur), Nazar Singh Manshahia (Mansa), Master Baldev (Jaitu) and Jagtar Singh Jagga (Raikot).
AAP had won 20 seats in the 117-member House in the assembly elections last year. Rodi however asserted that the dissident MLAs will not quit the party. He said that he had got an assurance from Khaira and other MLAs that they would not join any other party. “We will continue to be in AAP,” he said.
Seven MLAs had attended the volunteers convention in Bathinda this month in which the dissident group of AAP legislators had declared the party’s Punjab unit “autonomous” and “dissolved” its current organisational structure after Khaira was removed by AAP as Leader of Opposition in the Assemby .
Addressing a press conference here, Rodi said today that decisions related to Punjab should be allowed to be taken by the state unit. “I want to give a message that decisions related to Punjab unit should not be taken by Durgesh Pathak or Garry Warring (both AAP leaders),” Rodi said. Rodi, who had facilitated meeting between Khaira camp and party leadership in Delhi, said he had tried to end the impasse.
“I am sad as our efforts to end the stalemate between state and central leaderships did not bear fruit,” he said. He said it was painful that they did not get favourable audience from party leadership in Delhi. Though he asserted that he was still a “fan” of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and with AAP, Rodi said that he felt that the voice of state leaders was not being allowed to reach Kejriwal. “With party suffering a lot in Punjab, I think our voice was not being allowed to reach Kejriwal,” Rodi said.
“Sisodia also did not listen to us but gave only assurance that everything will be alright,” he said. When asked if they believed that Kejriwal was unaware of happenings in Punjab unit, Rodi said, “Either he does not want to listen to us or our voice is not being allowed to reach him. He should listen to inner voice of people,” said the MLA.
Welcoming Rodi, Khaira said that their fight was not meant for any individual. “This fight is for the interests of Punjab,” said the Bholath MLA adding, “We should have the right to take decisions concerning Punjab. Khaira also said despite his opposition, rge party contested Shahkot assembly bypoll. “We got only 1,900 votes in that byelection,” said Khaira.
Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu also asserted that they did not want to break the party. “We are happy being in the party. Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia are our leaders. But we oppose their decisions,” Sandhu. He claimed that some people within the party were trying to stop other MLAs from joining them. Sandhu said that at least three to four MLAs wanted to join them.
“When we talk to them, we feel that they want to join us,” he said while alleging that some leaders were running a “disinformation campaign” against them. Sandhu said that some volunteers had told them that Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann was also among those who were trying to stop MLAs from joining Khaira camp.
The Khaira camp also plans to seek suggestions from volunteers through online forum on how to move forward. A large number of volunteers, who had become inactive after the drubbing in assembly polls, were in touch with them, said Sandhu. Meanwhile, the dissident MLAs plan to hold a volunteers convention on August 11 at Garhshankar. An event will also be organised at Issru on August 15. Besides, another volunteers meeting will be held in Gurdaspur on August 25, they said.