Another AAP MLA joins dissidents’ camp in Punjab

In a boost to the dissident AAP legislators in Punjab led by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Garhshankar MLA Jai Krishan Singh Rodi on Monday announced that he is joining their group and accused the central leadership of ignoring the voice of the State unit.

With the inclusion of Mr. Rodi, the Khaira group now has eight legislators on its side. Apart from Mr. 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.

Mr. Rodi however asserted that the dissident MLAs will not quit the party. He said that he had got an assurance from Mr. Khaira and other MLAs that they would not join any other party. “We will continue to be in AAP,” he said.

‘Autonomous unit’

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 Mr. Khaira was removed by AAP as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Rodi said on Monday 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),” he said.

Mr. Rodi, who had facilitated meeting between the 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 a painful that they did not get favourable audience from the party leadership in Delhi.

Though he asserted that he was still a “fan” of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and with AAP, Mr. Rodi said that he felt that the voice of State leaders was not being allowed to reach Mr. Kejriwal.

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