POLITICS
30/10/2018 4:54 PM IST | Updated 30/10/2018 4:54 PM IST

AAP Announces 5 Candidates In Punjab For 2019 Lok Sabha Polls, Creates Further Divide In State Unit

AAP MLA in Punjab Sukhpal Singh Khaira said this will further marginalise the party in the state.

NARINDER NANU via Getty Images
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a file photo.

JALANDHAR — The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday announced the names of candidates for five out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

While sitting MP Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh will contest in their respective parliamentary constituencies of Sangrur and Faridkot, Ravjot Singh will contest from Hoshiarpur. Singh had contested 2017 assembly polls from the Sham Chaurasi seat.

AAP Majha zonal in-charge Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal will contest from Amritsar and Narinder Singh Shergill, who had contested in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls from Mohali, will contest from the Anandpur Sahib seat.

Dissenting leaders in the party were not happy with the announcement.

Calling it a 'unilateral announcement', AAP MLA from Bholath constituency, Sukhpal Khaira said that the move will marginalise the party further in Punjab.

"The party leadership sitting in Delhi has failed to learn a lesson from the miserable defeat in the 2017 assembly elections in Punjab."

"The party leadership sitting in Delhi has failed to learn a lesson from the miserable defeat in the 2017 assembly elections in Punjab. This will marginalise the party further in the state. The candidates will even loose their security deposits," said Khaira in a Chandigarh press conference, called immediately after the party announced its candidates.

"We had issued an ultimatum to the party to hold talks with the state leadership to bring peace and unity amongst the Punjab unit. Though we had already declared the state unit autonomous, we had given a chance to the party's core leadership for reconciliation. But with the hurriedly announced list of candidates, it seems that the party is in no mood to do so," said Khaira adding that he will soon hold a meeting with fellow leaders to decide a plan of action.

Accompanied by another rebel leader Kanwar Sandhu, MLA from Kharar and former leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Khaira said that keeping public interest in mind, he has now extended the deadline for his ultimatum from 1 to 8 November.

In 2014 general elections, AAP won four seats from Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib.

In 2014 general elections, AAP won four seats from Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib. Khaira, who held a strong place in the Congress party, joined AAP and contested the assembly elections successfully from Bholath constituency in 2017.

The party won 20 of the 117 assembly seats in the state and Khaira was made the Leader of Opposition. But soon, dissident voices began to appear after the party lost miserably in the assembly elections held in 2017 in Punjab. Khaira was replaced by Harpal Singh Cheema.

Apart from Khaira, other rebel leaders are Kanwar Sandhu, MLA from Kharar; Nazar S Manshahian, MLA from Mansa; Jagdev S Kamalu, MLA from Maur; Baldev Singh, MLA from Jaito; Pirmal Singh, MLA from Bhadaur and Jagtar Singh, MLA from Raikot .

Even though Khaira, along with the other rebel leaders, recently held a major show of strength in Bhatinda, the party leadership seemed to be in no mood to reconcile with them and announced five candidates without holding any prior discussion with the state leadership in Punjab.