CHANDIGARH -- Former Bholath MLA and Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira today joined Aam Aadmi Party as he hit out at party vice president Rahul Gandhi for allegedly "compromising" on his "own principles" and ideology and called PCC chief Amarinder Singh a "tainted and corrupt" leader.
Khaira joined AAP here in the presence of AAP's leadership including inchrage of Punjab affairs Sanjay Singh, and state convener Sucha Singh Chottepur and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann.
Khaira, who had been Congress party's spokesperson and the most vocal face of the party submitted his resignation from the primary membership of the party to Rahul Gandhi.
Sanjay Singh formally inducted Khaira here today and applauded him for "taking on Badals single handedly by exposing their misdeeds".
"We welcome Khaira in our party and we hope he will work hard to consolidate the party in the state," Singh said.
Describing his decision to join AAP as a "turning point" of his life, Khaira attacked Rahul Gandhi and Amarinder Singh and said he felt "suffocated" in the party despite serving it for over two decades.
"I was upset with Rahul Gandhi who always promised to bring honest and young people and qualitative change in the polity of India. Unfortunately, he compromised on his own principles and ideology by forming new Punjab Congress team including Amarinder Singh, Ambika Soni and Lal Singh just to win polls in Punjab," Khaira said.
He hit out at Amarinder and Lal Singh while accusing them of being "tainted and corrupt".
"Amarinder Singh has been facing 3-4 charges including Ludhiana city centre scam, Amritsar Improvement Trust scandal.
The report of his wife Preneet Kaur and his son Raninder Singh stashing black money in swiss accounts have also emerged. Lal Singh has been indicted of serious corruption charges by the Lokpal," Khaira alleged.
Khaira accused both Congress and Akalis of being "identically corrupt" parties with "feudal mindset" and alleged that Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh are hand in glove with each other and have been protecting each other in corruption cases.
"While two corruption cases of Amarinder Singh are in the courts for last seven years due to soft prosecution by the Badals, Amarinder never challenged the acquittal of the Badal family in disproportionate assets case purposely," he claimed.
"There is a secret understanding between two parties not to let third group to rise against them," he alleged.
Amarinder always accused Badal regime of registering false cases against Congress workers but why he never fought those cases in their support, he asked.
Khaira, who had been Congress spokesman in Punjab, also called Amarinder a "tired man" and said, "he was defeated twice".
On joining AAP, Khaira said he was always appreciative of Arvind Kejriwal's style of politics as he took the level of country's politics to a new level. "Kejriwal fought against corruption tooth and nail," he said.
"There is no opportunism in my joining AAP. My switching the party is only for struggle of my state which is facing several issues like drug menace, corruption,etc. My joining is absolutely unconditional," he said.
"I was pressurised (not to join AAP) till yesterday. I was made the national spokesman of Congress. But I had given it up. I will work as a volunteer in the party," Khaira said.
On what responsibility be given to Khaira, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, "he is joining AAP unconditionally. You (media) leave it to the party and we will sit and decide together on what role he be given in the party."
"He (Khaira) is joining unconditionally. He never demanded to be AAP's chief ministerial candidate in Punjab and there is nothing of that sort," Singh said replying to a question on whether the party got face for CM candidate.
On being asked whether Congress could win 2017 Assembly polls with Amarinder being made state party chief, Khaira said, "they (Congress) will not win. He (Amarinder) was defeated twice. He was given free hand before elections (2012) by Rahul Gandhi. But this time, he was not given free hand.
Eight to ten 10 have been put in charge around him. Moreover, this time AAP will also be in the fray."
To a question, Sanjay Singh said, "Party held 32 rallies in Punjab in past few days. The way we are getting support from people, AAP will repeat historic victory in Punjab as was witnessed in Delhi,"
When Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann was asked of the reports that he was against Khaira joining AAP, he said, "We do not indulge in hard-hearted politics. We always say we need good people," said.
AAP also took a dig at BJP on the issue of corruption.
"You look at (MP) Kirti Azad. He raised a voice against corruption and party Chief Amit Shah is saying he was doing anti-party activities. He was suspended. It means according to the BJP, indulging in corruption is party activity and raising voice against corruption is anti-party," Singh said.
He also said CBI failed to find out anything "wrong" against IAS officer Rajender Kumar so far.
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