AAP to fight block samiti, zila parishad polls in Punjab on symbol, rebel faction rejects decision

The elections are scheduled on September 19.
Chandigarh : Reeling under nonstop infighting that has started to ramp up like never before, the Aam Aam Party (AAP) has decided to contest the upcoming block samiti and zila parishad elections in Punjab on the party symbol (broom).
The elections are scheduled on September 19.
The AAP state unit took the decision at a meeting of district unit heads, zone presidents, chiefs of different wings, legislators and other office-bearers held in Sangrur on Sunday. Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, state unit co-president Dr Balbir Singh, leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, legislature party deputy leader Sarbjit Kaur Manuke and MLAs Rupinder Kaur Ruby, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer and Kulwant Singh Pandori were among those who attended the meeting.
“The decision to contest block samiti and zila parishad elections on party symbol was unanimous. We want to take important issues, including desecration and drugs, to people and expose the Congress and the SAD that are operating in tandem. The desecration happened during the rule of Akalis and the Congress government is trying to protect them,” said Balbir Singh.
He said the party candidates will be jointly named by district heads and in-charges of assembly segments with Mann, Cheema and other state leaders leading the campaign.
Despite the state co-president’s claim of unanimity, the rebel faction headed by Bholath legislator and former leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira, which has the support of eight of the 20 AAP legislators in the state, rejected the party’s decision to contest the panchayat body elections being held a few months before the parliamentary polls. Calling it a “foolish move”, Khaira said panchayat samitis and zila parishads were toothless bodies in the state with no powers whatsoever.
“We are not contesting these elections. Let them (pro-Delhi party leaders) fight. They will get exposed again as in Shahkot bypoll where party candidate got just 1,900 votes. This is why we want khudmuktyari (functional autonomy) so that such decisions are not imposed,” Khaira told HT.
The rebel camp, which staged a revolt against the AAP central and state leadership after Khaira was fired from the post of leader of opposition more than a month ago, has been holding its separate rallies across the state.
The AAP, which failed to live up to huge expectations in the state assembly polls last year, had fared abysmally in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha byelection, Shahkot assembly bypoll and Corporation polls in four cities.

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