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Posted at: Feb 12, 2019, 6:57 AM; last updated: Feb 12, 2019, 10:23 AM (IST)

Divided AAP in spot as session begins today

Of 20 MLAs, 3 have resigned, five with rebel group

Khaira to skip

  • Sukhpal Khaira said he might have to skip the session due to his preoccupation with his party. Master Baldev Singh will be in attendance, but will sit with five rebel MLAs — Kanwar Sandhu, Nazar Singh Mansahia, Jagtar Singh Jagga, Pirmal Singh and Jagdev Singh Kamalu. Phoolka said he would attend the session as his membership still stands.
Divided AAP in spot as session begins today
Sukhpal Khaira

Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11

The main Opposition party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), faces a tough situation as it gets ready for the Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha that begins on Tuesday. Since the party stands divided following the rebellion by some of its MLAs led by Sukhpal Khaira, it can claim only a symbolic majority in the Assembly.

AAP has 20 MLAs, of whom three have resigned from the party, while five are members of the rebel group.

So technically, the party has 20 MLAs to show, but only 12 are with it. It is probably the first time that the main Opposition party faces such a situation. The Speaker is yet to take a call on the resignation of Bholath MLA Khaira, who has formed Punjabi Ekta Party, Jaito MLA Master Baldev Singh and Dakha MLA HS Phoolka. The Speaker has called Phoolka for discussing his resignation on February 20. Khaira told The Tribune that he might have to skip the session due to his preoccupation with his party. Master Baldev Singh will be in attendance, but will sit with five rebel MLAs — Kanwar Sandhu, Nazar Singh Mansahia, Jagtar Singh Jagga, Pirmal Singh and Jagdev Singh Kamalu.

Phoolka said he would attend the session as his membership still stands. He said he might seek an early meeting with the Speaker for acceptance of his resignation.

Leader of Opposition and Dirba MLA Harpal Singh Cheema said Phoolka would be sitting at his designated seat with AAP. Cheema said the members were AAP leaders as of now.

Notably, Cheema has already written to Speaker Rana KP Singh to disqualify Khaira from the Assembly after the latter formed a new party. However, Cheema has not asked for the acceptance of resignation of Phoolka and Master Baldev Singh.

In the last Assembly session, the SAD-BJP combine had sought a clarification from the Speaker on whether AAP was the main Opposition party as seven MLAs had rebelled against it. The SAD-BJP has 17 MLAs.

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