Kejriwal apology: Gutter politics dumps AAP in deep pit in Punjab
Chandigarh, March 16: The unexpected blast that was triggered with the apology extended by AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia has set chain reaction in Punjab thereby raising question mark on the very existence of the party, at least in the present form. The MLAs who met for hours here today to discuss the situation deferred the proposal to drop AAP banner for a new one. More meetings are to be held in coming days.
Earlier in the day, state party chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann tweeted his resignation followed by vice-president Aman Arora. AAP legislature party chief Sukhpal Khaira and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu had tweeted their disgust last night itself.
Kejriwal has been facing criminal defamation case filed by Majithia in an Amritsar court for levelling the allegation that Majithia was part of the drug mafia in the state. The Delhi chief minister has now retracted his statement and apologised to Majithia paving the way for withdrawal of court proceedings.
It may be mentioned that entire campaign of AAP in Punjab in the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections had been constructed mainly on the activities of the drug mafia with focus on Majithia. It was Kejriwal who commanded the campaign. The party ended up as the main opposition, a major achievement for a rookie party in the state whose political dynamics of characterised by bipolarity, pushing the Akali Dal to the third position.
The issue is now the future of AAP, not only in Punjab but at the national level. Not that Kejriwal could not have anticipated this strong reaction in the state where the party has the second largest footprint after Delhi. It may be different issue that the party has been in shambles even as the major opposition. It is the Akali Dal that is fast recovering its space lost to AAP as opposition. AAP in Punjab is nothing but a press note party with little political activity on the ground.
It is Kejriwal’s credibility that has come under question now. One can’t go on painting everybody with a black brush in politics. Here is the case of a leader whose words can’t be trusted hereafter. It is an enigma as to why he resorted to this suicidal step. Defamation case is not a big thing. These cases are rather normal in both politics and journalism that normally linger on and on for years and sometimes are even forgotten. One can go in for appeal in one higher court after another in case of conviction.
Lok Insaaf Party, the alliance partner of AAP in Punjab having two aggressive and vocal MLAs today ended this arrangement. However, AAP leaders claimed that LIP had promised to support all pro-people initiatives.
The state party leaders expressed their resolve to continue campaign on drug issue but the announcement seems to be hollow in the wake of apology by the AAP commander. AAP in Punjab has little to its credit in one year.
The party MLAs discussed pros and cons of going independent but decided to wait and watch. The only decision taken was that they would not go to Delhi for meetings and Delhi leadership would have to come to Chandigarh. This is no big deal.
It might seem to be too early to write off the party. The MLAs would continue to be AAP MLAs till they decide to opt for a name change with support from two-third as per the constitutional provision. Moreover, at the political level, there has to be a leader with proven credibility. The people in Punjab experimented with third alternative but their hopes were dashed, more due to failure of AAP leadership.
Here is the party that has come up with the promise of alternative politics in the country. Kejriwal has landed the party in a deep pit.