Khaira quits AAP, may contest Lok Sabha election from Bathinda

Chandigarh, Jan 6: The resignation by Sukhpal Singh Khaira from primary membership of the Aam Aadmi Party today morning was not unexpected. His resignation could be part of some bigger strategy.

Sources maintain he might take the plunge in the Lok Sabha poll arena from the most important seat in the state that is Bathinda. The other seat that this group may contest is Faridkot from where the name of Jaito MLA Master Baldev Singh has been finalised.

The announcement to this effect could come within the next two days. There is little time left to prepare for Lok Sabha election due in May next.

Both Khaira and Baldev may quit their Assembly seats on the same day.

As per the anti-defection law, the resignation by the MLA from the party  can invite disqualification. The decision in this case is vested in Speaker. This involves lengthy process. However, their resignations would close this matter.

Bathinda is bastion of the Badal family that has elected Harsimrat Kaur Badal twice. She has already announced that she would try her luck for that this very seat. Moreover, there is no option. Ferozepur is ruled out as Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal has antagonised Rai Sikh community that plays decisive role. Sitting Akali Dal MP Sher Singh Ghubaya was expelled from the party. His son won the last Assembly election on Congress ticket.

Bathinda is no more the Akali Dal stronghold going by the voting pattern in the last Assembly election in the segments that are part of this Lok Sabha seat.

AAP had fielded candidate from Bathinda in the last Lok Sabha election who lost miserably.

The Dera Sacha Sauda had considerable following in Bathinda earlier. It is this dimension that dictated Sukhbir’s electoral strategy resulting in the crisis in the Sikh religio-political domain revolving around the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib issue.

This albatross of  sacrilege continues to hang around the neck of the Badals.

This would continue to haunt the Akali Dal candidates in the Lok Sabha elections too especially in Malwa belt.

The Bargari agitation and Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege has considerably dented Badals and there is little sign of recovery. Rather the situation could worsen.

The culprits who have been arrested so far in cases of sacrilege are devotees of Dera Sacha Sauda. Three of their main leaders are absconding.  Dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim is already in jail in a rape case.

It is pertinent to mention here that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had summoned Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates to his official residence in 2015 to engineer pardon for Dera chief. This is basic to the sacrilege controversy. The Akal Takht had issued edict against this Dera in 2007 and the 2015 pardon was in that context.

AAP entering the fray would make Bathinda contest triangular.

The Panthic outfits that were part of the agitation at Bargari to seek action against culprits of sacrilege have not so far constituted any political outfit. The announcement to this effect was made from the stage of Bargari Insaaf Morcha but nothing has been formalised so far.

The Bargari Morcha had attracted massive gatherings, making all electoral calculations unpredictable.

Jagtar Singh


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