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Rebel AAP Punjab MLA resigns from party, calls Kejriwal 'dictatorial'

PTI chandigarh
Updated: 16-01-2019 19:43 IST
Rebel AAP Punjab MLA resigns from party, calls Kejriwal 'dictatorial'

Rebel AAP MLA Baldev Singh Wednesday resigned from the party's primary membership, accusing its leadership of "giving up its basic ideology and principles" and the party's national convener Arvind Kejriwal of being "dictatorial and arrogant".

The AAP legislator from Jaitu tendered his resignation to Kejriwal. He is the third MLA to quit the party after after Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and H S Phoolka, also a legislator.

Khaira resigned from the party on January 6, while senior advocate H S Phoolka tendered his resignation on January 3.

Phoolka has already tendered his resignation from the party as well as MLA, though Punjab Assembly Speaker is yet to take a call on it. Khaira has also resigned from the party but not as MLA. He has dared the AAP leadership to get him disqualified under anti-defection law.

"I am pained to forward my resignation from the primary membership of the AAP because the party has completely given up its basic ideology and principles," Baldev Singh said in an email to Kejriwal.

"As a result of your dictatorial, arrogant and autocratic style of functioning, pioneers of AAP like Parashant Bhushan, Yogender Yadav, Medha Patikar, Kiran Bedi, Dr Gandhi, H S Khalsa, Sucha Singh Chottepur, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Ashish Khetan, Ashutosh, H S Phoolka etc. have all left the party or have been thrown out in a humiliating manner," he alleged.

"Therefore, keeping these saddening developments and circumstances in mind... I have decided to quit as a primary member of the AAP," Baldev Singh said.

The resignation of Baldev Singh, for the time being, is unlikely to impact the post of the Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly which is held by AAP.

AAP has 20 MLAs in the Punjab Assembly. It includes six rebel legislators, Kanwar Singh Sandhu, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Jagtar Singh Hissowal, Pirmal Singh Khalsa, Baldev Singh and Nazar Singh Manshahia who are siding with Khaira. The remaining 14 are with the central leadership of the party.

Out of 117 seats in the House, the Congress has 78 members, the SAD has 14, the BJP has three MLAs and two legislators belong to the Lok Insaaf Party.

Baldev Singh, along with other MLAs, had sided with Khaira after he was removed as Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly last year by the AAP. He had even attended the launch ceremony of Khaira's political outfit Punjabi Ekta Party.

He said he was shocked that the AAP removed Khaira as the the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and gave the charge to Harpal Singh Cheema.

"We in Punjab were deeply shocked when you unceremoniously and undemocratically removed an honest Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the post of LoP, without taking Punjab MLA's into confidence," he wrote to Kejriwal.

He also hit out at Kejriwal for tendering an apology to Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia on drug issue.

"Your (Kejriwal) meek apology to tainted former minister Bikram Singh Majithia revealed your double standards in politics.Your duplicity on the vital issue of Punjab river waters also puts you on the same pedestal of cunning leaders of India," Baldev Singh alleged and denounced the AAP leadership for not "expressing faith" in leaders from Punjab.

"Instead of expressing faith in the abilities of Punjabis and rewarding them, you preferred to send an army of outsiders to muzzle the voice of our people. The said army was headed by two arrogant Subedar's who indulged in every mean maneuvers to promote their near and dear ones," he alleged.

"This arrogant and overconfident attitude of the party hierarchy led to a crushing defeat of AAP in Punjab in the 2017 assembly elections," Baldev Singh said.