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Lok Insaaf, Rebel AAP Leaders Come Together for Punjab Democratic Alliance

The PDA announced it would contest 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that it will maintain distance from the Congress, the BJP and the SAD.

Patiala, Dec 16 (PTI) Suspended AAP leaders Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Dharamvira Gandhi, BSP state president Rashpal Raju and the Lok Insaaf Party have come together to form Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), “a political formation of like minded leaders”.

Addressing a gathering of supporters on Sunday, after the conclusion of the more than week-long ‘insaaf’ march in the city which began from Talwandi Sabo to seek justice in cases of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015, Khaira said the alliance would “aim to liberate Punjab from the clutches of traditional parties”.

Besides Khaira and Gandhi, some rebel AAP MLAs have also thrown their weight behind the newly formed alliance.

The PDA announced it would contest next year’s Lok Sabha elections and that it will welcome other like-minded parties and individuals as long as they maintain distance from the Congress, the BJP and the SAD.

Lok Insaaf Party legislator Simarjit Bains repeated Khaira’s words “the alliance will clean the corrupt polity of Punjab”.

The LIP president targeted the Amarinder Singh government for its alleged failure to redress the grievances of small and medium scale entrepreneurs and its workers.

He said the “so called relief” of Rs 5 per unit on electricity charges had only benefited a few hundred large industrial houses, while more than 30,000 smaller industries were paying through their noses.

BSP state president Rashpal Raju, who also addressed the gathering, said the weaker sections and Dalits were being “exploited” through petty welfare schemes of ‘atta-dal’, meagre pensions, while they were being denied their rights to quality education, health care, affordable housing and employment.

Khaira said “corrupt parties and leaders in the state” had allegedly ruined glorious Punjab “for their lust to amass wealth.”

He alleged Punjab was facing a colossal debt of Rs 2.5 lakh crore, farmers and labourers were committing suicide, thousands of unemployed youths were taking drugs and many were migrating to foreign shores “because of hopelessness, and frustration in the state.”

Khaira vowed to continue seeking justice for sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

Gandhi hit out at the Centre “for encroaching upon the rights of the states and Punjab through gross centralisation”.

He said the larger aim of PDA would be to strive for a “federal India and a democratic Punjab”.

The Patiala MP said the PDA would approach other regional parties to unite and seek “a true federal country”.

“Punjab and other states are nothing more than a municipality now after the implementation of the GST that has struck financial autonomy,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, AAP rebel MLA Kanwar Sandhu alleged the mafia continues to rule the roost in illegal mining, liquor trade, transport, cable network, among other sectors.

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