Phoolka, who has been representing the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, 34 years since its carnage, has always been averse to the idea of the Aam Aadmi Party allying with the Congress. In July, last year, he had said he would “be the first one to quit the party” if any such alliance is in the making.
Calling the Congress “perpetrators” of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Phoolka had then said that any alliance with the former would amount to giving them a clean chit in the case. “I shall be the first person to quit the Aam Aadmi Party if and when it joins hands with the Congress (either) in a direct or indirect manner,” he had said, rejecting the suggestion by the Congress to form a grand alliance of opposition parties to defeat the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Phoolka has remained opposed to the Congress party, even pursuing his case against Kamal Nath, who was recently made the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
The 73-year-old senior advocate has been fighting pro bono for victims of the 1984 riots that followed the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. Last month, when the Delhi High Court convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the riots case, Phoolka broke down at the courtroom 3. “It has been 34 years…I have been waiting to hear this. It’s a huge victory. I was 28 when I took up the case,” he said.
While Phoolka has said he would explain his reasons behind resigning from the party in a press briefing on Friday, it is believed that the decision could have been triggered over alleged “changes in recent resolution” moved by an AAP MLA to strip former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi of Bharat Ratna. The BJP has alleged that “content of resolution was changed” as the Aam Aadmi Party wants to forge an alliance with the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Vocal in his disdain of the Congress, Phoolka had refused to vote for Meira Kumar, the opposition’s nominee for the presidential election in July 2017, despite his party supporting her and cited the 1984 anti-Sikh riots for his decision.
The same year, Phoolka quit as the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly to continue to appear in courts for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims, giving up his cabinet minister status. Phoolka was an MLA from Dakha seat in Punjab.