Senior AAP leader and lawyer H S Phoolka on Saturday said he will not vote for Meira Kumar, the opposition’s nominee for the presidential election, despite his party supporting her and cited the 1984 anti-Sikh riots for his decision. Phoolka, an MLA from Dakha seat said he could not vote for the Congress-backed candidate as leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, accused in the riots, were still “occupying” positions in the party.
“I have been closely associated with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (case) and if I vote for the Congress then people will think that the party has been pardoned for these riots. It can never be forgiven for it. Therefore, I will not vote for the Congress candidate,” he said. “I respect Meira (Kumar) Ji, she is the daughter of Jagjivan Ram. I cannot support her as she is a Congress-backed candidate and leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, against whom I have been fighting in the anti-Sikh riots (case), are still holding positions in the Congress,” he said.
Phoolka, who is a senior Supreme Court lawyer, had recently resigned from his post as the leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly to continue to appear in courts for the riot victims. On being asked if by not voting for the Congress candidate he was not going against his party’s decision, he said, “I cannot go against the party’s decision of supporting the candidature of Kumar for presidential elections. Therefore, I will abstain from voting.”
Phoolka said he has already conveyed his decision to the party high command. His decision of not voting for Kumar was announced after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) asked him why his party was supporting the Congress’ presidential candidate. It said that he had stepped down from the post of the leader of the opposition to fight riots cases for which the Congress was “responsible”.
The Congress which stormed to power in Punjab in March this year has 77 members in the 117-member state assembly. The AAP has 20 legislators and its ally Lok Insaaf Party has two. The SAD-BJP coalition has 18 MLAs (15 SAD, 3 BJP) in the Punjab Assembly.