Dissent brews in Aam Aadmi Party, 7 rebel MLAs in Punjab declare party unit ‘autonomous’

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New Delhi | Updated: August 3, 2018 9:48:41 AM

When AAP Punjab co-president Balbir Singh was quizzed about the rebel MLAs declaring the party's state unit 'autonomous', he said that the MLAs and leaders who attended the convention in Bhatinda are 'misguided'.

Sukhpal Khaira, Aam Aadmi Party, AAP Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party Dissent brews in Aam Aadmi Party, 7 rebel MLAs in Punjab declare party unit ‘autonomous’

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal is appearing to be heading towards a split in Punjab where it enjoys the tag of the principal opposition party in the Legislative Assembly with 20 legislators. A crisis has gripped the party from within with at least seven of its MLAs led by former Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira declaring AAP Punjab an ‘autonomous unit’.

On Thursday, Khaira presided over a convention of AAP volunteers in Bhatinda which was attended by seven MLAs and his supporters. During the convention, a total of six resolutions were proposed by the AAP MLAs. All resolutions were passed by a voice vote which included declaring the party’s state unit ‘autonomous’ and existing organisational structure of the party in the state as ‘dissolved’.

The resolutions said that the existing structure of the party has ‘seriously eroded’ the party’s base and image in the state. The resolutions also said that the Punjab unit will make its own structure in accordance with the rules and authorised the MLAs who attended the convention to prepare board contours of the new organisational structure.

“Since Punjab unit is part of a national party, it will keep the national body informed of its decisions,” a resolution said.

Khaira, who was removed from the Leader of Opposition post last week, said that the convention was needed to send a message to the central leadership that state leaders have the freedom to express their views. “My fight is for the interests of Punjab. I am not after any post. I will speak for all Punjabis. This state has been ruined by the misrule of the Badal family and (Chief Minister) Amarinder Singh. This is not my fight but the fight for Punjab,” he said.

The other 13 MLAs had on Wednesday night arrived in the national capital and met Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia who also is the in charge for party’s Punjab unit. After meeting Sisodia, all the MLAs met Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday morning.

When AAP Punjab co-president Balbir Singh was quizzed about the rebel MLAs declaring the party’s state unit ‘autonomous’, he said that the MLAs and leaders who attended the convention in Bhatinda are ‘misguided’. He said that holding a convention without seeking permission from the central and state leadership is ‘illegal.

“These leaders are marching on the road that leads to nowhere,” Singh said and exuded hope that the MLAs will fall in the party line.

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