After Punjab MLAs’ meet, Khaira prepared to speak to Kejriwal

CHANDIGARH: A day after 10 of the 20 Aam () legislators from Punjab met party chief in Delhi, leader of opposition backed down and said he was open to meeting the Delhi leadership. However, he still insisted that the meeting should take place in Chandigarh.
“There is no problem in meeting, we are the same party. There is no ego involved in this. But we would still want that they (Delhi leaders) come down here. We have had several meetings in Delhi and this time it can be here,” told TOI.

Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu said he had not been approached for a meeting by the AAP central leadership, so far. “If all members decide to go, I too will. But preferably, if the meeting is about issues of the state, we would want it to be held in Punjab,” he said.

Wrote to Kejriwal in Dec on autonomy, says Sandhu

Sources said after ensuring that a sizeable number of Punjab AAP legislators attend the Kejriwal meeting, the party’s central leadership had also reached out to those who had opted for aggressive posturing during the AAP unit meeting here on Friday.

The turn of events brought the focus back to absolute autonomy for the Punjab AAP unit and the suggestion of forming a separate unit, which had emerged as the “majority view” last week, now seems to be out of the question.

“The demand was always for autonomy. In the last meeting of the MLAs, all kinds of options were discussed, but there was never any consensus,” said Khaira.

Sandhu added that he had written a letter in December to Kejriwal to seek autonomy. “Autonomy should be full autonomy which means that the state unit should have its own constitution, membership, structure, funding and manifestos. The central point of the letter is that the national unit of the party and state units function in an autonomous manner,” he said.

As many as 15 MLAs turned up for a meeting convened by Khaira on Monday to discuss the AAP strategy for the assembly session.

Elaborating on the meeting, Khaira said the legislature party met to discuss the floor strategy for the budget session beginning on Tuesday. “The party has decided to forcefully take up the issues of suicides by farmers and farm labourers, betrayal of the youth with false promise of employment generation, failure of the Punjab government to curb drugs, illegal mining, great discrimination with the SCs, BCs and other weaker sections,” he said.

“Fifteen party MLAs were present while some MLAs expressed their inability to attend the meeting due to pressing circumstances,” he added.

Party’s co-president Aman Arora said after the meeting on Monday that the AAP was ready for the assembly session and would highlight the shortcomings of the government.

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