New Delhi, June 20: In soup over his alleged support to ‘Referendum 2020′ — a Sikh radicals’ campaign to “liberate Punjab,” state’s AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira Wednesday faced the ire of AAP’s top brass including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who refused to meet him.
Beleagured Khaira, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and is presently in Delhi to meet senior AAP leaders, later approached Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who too rebuked him and asked him to come clean on his act, said AAP leaders.
“Sisodia lashed out at Khaira while telling him that AAP has nothing to do with his referendum thoughts. He was also asked by Sisodia, to explain his stand through the Punjab unit president of the party,” said a party leader. Last week, Khaira had reportedly said: “I support the Sikh referendum 2020 movement as Sikhs have the right to demand justice against atrocities suffered by them.”
Political parties in Punjab, including the Congress and the BJP are demanding sacking of Khaira while cornering the AAP on the issue. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has condemned Khaira for “backing secessionism” by supporting the campaign, propounded by Sikh radicals for a separate Sikh homeland.
Amid a barrage of criticism, Khaira had responded to Amrinder in a tweet, “I am surprised a leader of your level is tweeting against me without checking the facts, I am not a votary of 2020 but I don’t hesitate to point out a consistent policy of discrimination against Sikhs by Central governments! Be it attack on Darbar Sahib (or), genocide of Sikhs leading to 2020.” Union Minister and senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had yesterday demanded that Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP should sack Khaira for supporting Sikh referendum campaign.
The AAP leaders in Delhi claimed Kejriwal was “very much angry” with Khaira who has “pleaded” that he was “misquoted” by media. “His fate hangs in balance, the party may take a decision on him after receiving his written reply,” they said. The timing of the controversy caught the AAP leadership unprepared as the party supremo Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues were staging a sit in at Lt Governor’s office here and the entire party brass was busy backing them up.