AAP suspends Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu

Rebel AAP leader, Sukhpal Singh Khaira. PTI File Photo

The Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday suspended rebel leaders Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu from the party for allegedly indulging in "anti-party" activities, it said.

The decision was taken by the core committee of AAP Punjab unit, chaired by MLA Budh Ram in Chandigarh.

"Both Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu have been suspended for indulging in anti-party activities," AAP legislator and leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said.

He said the core committee has taken the consent of the Political Affairs Committee for the suspension of Bholath and Kharar legislators Khaira and Sandhu respectively.

Later the party in a statement said Khaira and Sandhu had been indulging in "anti-party" activities and continuously attacked the central and state party leadership.

It said it has decided to suspend the two leaders with immediate effect after exhausting all avenues.

Reacting to his suspension from AAP, Khaira described the decision as "dictatorial" and said he will hold a meeting with legislators and party activists to decide his next action.

"We will go to the people's court. Unity talks were torpedoed under a conspiracy after announcing five Lok Sabha candidates. It seems it is a planned strategy and conspiracy," Khaira said.

The suspension came nearly three months after Khaira was removed from the post of Leader of Opposition and two days after AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal's visit to Chandigarh on November 3.

During his visit, Kejriwal had virtually snubbed Khaira by saying, "My politics is not Sukhpal Khaira".

"My politics is towards the people of this country. My politics is for a corruption-free India. My politics is for providing good education, setting up hospitals," Kejriwal had said.

Khaira is leading a group of eight dissident legislators who had revolted against the party after he was removed from the post of the Leader of Opposition in July. Thereafter, they set up a parallel adhoc political affairs committee.

The rebel group has been seeking autonomy for the state unit, which they say was being controlled by the Delhi leadership.

Talks between the rebel group and other AAP leaders of Punjab unit were held this month in an attempt to iron out the differences ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

But the talks "failed" to end infighting after rebel group charged the party for unilaterally announcing five candidates for Lok Sabha polls and appointing some district presidents.

Khaira had accused the AAP leadership of not being serious about the differences. He had given the party an ultimatum till November 8 to withdraw new appointments or he and other rebel leaders would start setting up the parallel organisational structure of the party in Punjab.

His group had blamed the defunct organisational structure for the party's defeat in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byeletion, Shahkot assembly byelection and zila parishad polls.

Out of the total 20 MLAs, Khaira group has eight legislators on its side.

They are Kanwar Sandhu (Kharar), Primal Singh (Bhadaur), Jagdev Singh Kamalu (Maur), Nazar Singh Manshahia (Mansa), Master Baldev (Jaitu), Jai Krishan Singh Rori (Garhshankar) and Jagtar Sibgh Jagga (Raikot). 

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AAP suspends Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu

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