Kejriwal's apology: AAP's Punjab unit is crisis; loses president, co-president
A day after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal apologized to former Akali Dal minister Bikram Majithia for leveling "unfounded allegations," his party seems to be heading towards another internal strife. The Punjab unit expressed strong displeasure at this move and even contradicted his stance. Further, LS MP Bhagwant Mann and Aman Arora resigned as AAP Punjab's president and co-president respectively. Here's more about it.
While campaigning for the Punjab assembly poll'17, AAP had made drug abuse a major issue. In vitriolic barbs, Kejriwal had slammed the Akali Dal government for patronizing the drug mafia and called Majithia, Punjab's "drug lord." Subsequently, Majithia had slapped a defamation case against him. Now, to settle this case, Kejriwal tendered a written apology, saying the accusations against Majithia were "unfounded."
This apology drew sharp reactions from Punjab AAP MLAs. Mann and Arora contended that drug abuse wouldn't have been so prevalent without the previous government's support. They vowed to continue their fight. AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh reiterated that Majithia was a "smuggler" and "deserves to be in jail." Opposition leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said Kejriwal's move had saddened Punjab AAP's members.
Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said, "I feel Kejriwal has murdered AAP in Punjab. It is as if their existence has been wiped off. With what face will they speak against drugs in Punjab now?" The Congress leader also declared that the Special Task Force (STF) had found evidence against Majithia being involved in the drug trade, which needs to be probed.
Separately, AAP's ally in Punjab, Lok Insaaf Party, also pulled out of the alliance. Reportedly, majority of AAP MLAs (about 15/20) are in favor of splitting away from the party and forming a new party. So, with this apology, will Kejriwal lose his Punjab cadres?
After the Majithia apology, Kejriwal may apologize to FM Jaitley, who has also filed defamation cases against him. But, why has Kejriwal witnessed a change of heart? 1. AAP's dismal performance in Punjab/Goa state assembly polls showed the failure of "defaming/insulting opposition" strategy. 2. Also, since Kejriwal is supposed to pay for these defamation cases on his own, it takes a toll on already-strained AAP's resources.