Nine days after AAP MLA H S 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 convenor 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.
“Khaira was the unanimous choice of all the MLAs and thereafter Kejriwal announced him as the new leader of opposition at New Delhi,” said AAP state co-president Aman Arora. All 20 AAP MLAs including Phoolka were present in the meeting. The meeting which started at 4 PM went for about an hour.
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’.
Phoolka had recommended the names of AAP MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu and Aman Arora, in accordance to their seniority, to be chosen by the party high command in consultation with the MLAs. Khaira, a former Congressman, is the MLA from Bholath seat. He had led the charge against the cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh who was facing allegations of impropriety in sand mining auctions. He was earlier the of party’s chief whip.
Last month during the Assembly session, Khaira raised voice against sand mafia in the House. However, he was later suspended from the House by the Speaker. Khaira had joined AAP in December 2015.