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Divided, AAP fell like pack of cards 

Chandigarh, May 31

With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) decimated in the bypoll, the rift within the party is out in the open.Talking with The Tribune, Party MLA and Leader of the Opposition Sukhpal Khaira said fielding a candidate was a mistake. He also stresssed on the need for “autonomy” for the state unit, that had a “better grip on the ground reality”.The AAP polled merely 1,900 votes. In the 2017 Assembly polls, the party had secured 41,010 votes, about 1,000 less than the Congress, which had polled 42,008 votes. Khaira’s participation in the election campaign was negligible. Other state leaders, such as Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, did not play any significant role either.“The defeat is humiliating. I was always against the decision to contest this election. We need to work on the party’s organisational structure first,” said Khaira. But Dr Balbir Singh, who practically runs the state unit, disagreed with Khaira. “There is no need for autonomy as the national leadership takes decisions based on our feedback and opinion.” He cautioned the leaders to exercise restraint.“The Leader of the Opposition must realise that his group of MLAs is only a wing of the party. Not the other way round.” Explaining the party was duty-bound to contest all elections, he added: “We can now prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a better way.” Party’s Dakha MLA HS Phoolka refused to comment, saying he was focusing on his constituency and had told the party leadership he would not be able to campaign in Shahkot.

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