Nine days after AAP MLA HS Phoolka tendered his resignation from the post, the Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday announced Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira as the new Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
The announcement of appointing Khaira as the Leader of Opposition was made by AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at New Delhi.
The unanimous decision of electing Khaira as the Leader of Opposition came after Kejriwal held a meeting with each MLA from Punjab in Delhi to know their viewpoints.
Mansa MLA Nazar Mansahia, who was also a contender, withdrew in favour of Khaira, party sources said, while giving the details of the meeting.
The Delhi leadership was reportedly not in favour of Khaira but they had to agree with the Punjab leaders’ decision as the denial of position to the Bholath MLA might have led to division in the Punjab unit of the party.
On July 11, AAP’s senior leader H S Phoolka had resigned from the post of leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly to continue to appear in courts for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.
Phoolka had to resign after the Delhi Bar Council disallowed him from appearing for the victims in several cases citing that he enjoyed an ‘office of profit’.
The Bholath MLA was among the three names recommended by Phooka to succeed him. He emerged as the party’s obvious choice being a Jat Sikh leader with legislative experience. The other two names suggested by Phoolka – Sunam MLA Aman Arora and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu — are first-timers.
Khaira, a former Congressman, had led the charge against the cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh who was facing allegations of impropriety in sand mining auctions.