HS Phoolka resigns as leader of Opposition in Punjab

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HS-Phoolka-AAP

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and Leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly HS Phoolka on Tuesday submitted his resignation from the post to speaker Rana KP Singh.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader had announced his decision to quit on Sunday to fight the 1984 Sikh genocide cases in Delhi courts.

Phoolka said on Tuesday important cases relating to the riots were listed for Thursday, and he had to appear on behalf of the victims.

After the state assembly polls, the AAP had emerged as the principal opposition party. Phoolka, the MLA from Dakha assembly constituency, was elected leader of the AAP legislature party on March 16 and became the leader of opposition in the state assembly.

Later, the Delhi Bar Council disallowed him from continuing his legal practice, citing that he held an office of profit.

Phoolka, who rose into prominence as a lawyer by fighting cases of 1984 genocide victims, had earlier said he will quit once his party nominates a new incumbent.

However, after submitting his resignation on Tuesday, he told HT: “There is no urgency to appoint a new incumbent, as there is no assembly session in near future. So, I can move on.”

‘Noting is dearer to me than getting justice for riot victims’

In his resignation, HS Phoolka said the post was obstructing his pursuit of justice for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.

The Delhi Bar Council had barred him from fighting the cases as he was holding an office of profit — with a Cabinet Minister rank and salary.

‘NEW NAME ON THURSDAY’

The AAP will meet on Thursday to finalise Phoolka’s replacement.

“Hopefully, the party will finalise a name (on Thursday),” said Punjab AAP co-president Aman Arora.

Phoolka on Sunday suggested three names — chief whip Sukhpal Singh Khaira, former journalist Kanwar Sandhu and Arora — for the post of leader of opposition.

However, after the resignation, he said: “The party MLAs will decide (the name) like they decided in my case.”

  • Sources said those in the fray included party’s chief whip Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu, Aman Arora (all recommended by Phoolka) and Baljinder Kaur, the Talwandi Sabo MLA
  • Baljinder Kaur’s name is doing the rounds as her oratory in the Vidhan Sabha during the Budget session was appreciated by the party leadership

The party has 20 MLAs in Punjab. With opinions divided, there is no clear front-runner yet.

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