Chandigarh Punjab Vidhan Sabha speaker Rana KP Singh on Tuesday accepted the resignation of rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Bholath and former leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the state assembly.

A notification to this effect was issued by the state assembly, which stated that consequent upon the resignation of Khaira, the Bholath seat has fallen vacant. There will be, however, no by-election as the general assembly polls in the state are less than four months away. Khaira said he had resigned on June 3 before joining the Congress. “The speaker asked me to submit the resignation in the prescribed format, which I did today in person. My resignation has been accepted,” the two-time Bholath legislator said.

Khaira had joined the AAP in December 2015 after resigning from the Congress and won the Bholath assembly seat in 2017; he, later, became the leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly. However, he fell out with AAP top brass and led a rebellion following his unceremonious removal as the leader of opposition. He quit the AAP to float his own separate outfit, Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.

Khaira had first tendered his resignation from the state assembly in April 2019 to contest from the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat which he lost. “I had taken my resignation back at that time because I did not want to oblige the ‘fake revolutionaries’ (AAP) and the people of my constituency to go through the nightmare of byelection. I am with the Congress and will contest from Bholath (in the upcoming polls),” he said.

As per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, a member can withdraw the resignation any time before it is accepted. Khaira rejoined the Congress with two other MLAs Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh Khalsa who had revolted against the AAP leadership to protest against the former’s removal from the position of leader of opposition.

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