NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's decision to apologise to former Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia has led to an open rebellion in the party. AAP workers in Punjab are calling Kejriwal's apology to the Shrimani Akali Dal leader a 'betrayal' to the people of the state.
"All of us in Punjab are saddened to learn how Kejriwal ji has went to apologise to Majithia when state government's STF has submitted in High Court that there is strong clinching evidence against him. AAP MLAs with gather and take stock of the situation," AAP's Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
Acknowledging the dissent in the party, AAP's Rajya Sahba MP said that he hopes justice will be met. "Many people are unhappy with Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Bikram Singh Majithia. I hope justice will be done as people like BS Majithia deserve to be in jail," Sanjay Singh said.
AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that he was "stunned" by the apology by Kejriwal. "We're appalled n stunned by the apology of @ArvindKejriwal tendered today,we don't hesitate to admit that we haven't been consulted on this meek surrender by a leader of his stature," he said on Twitter. He also promised that he will continue the "tirade on the burning issue of drugs destroying the youth of Punjab".
"I fail to understand the timing of Kejriwal's apology when STF of PB has stated to the High Court today that there's substantial evidence to proceed against Bikram Majitha on the issue of drugs-khaira (sic)," he had tweeted on Thursday.
The AAP's Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu also reacted sharply to the apology, tweeting, "Arvind Kejriwal' apology to Bikram Majithia in the defamation case on drugs is a let down to the people, especially the youth of Punjab. We in punjab have not been taken into the loop. Our fight for Punjab continues."
"Shocked & disappointed 2 know abt the apology tendered by Arvind Kejriwal 2 Majithia. I still believe drugs wud not have taken so much young lives had the previous Govt not patronised drug mafia. Our fight against drugs continues," the party's Punjab unit co-president Aman Arora tweeted.
Several AAP leaders took to Twitter to lodge their protest against the Delhi CM's decision.
Extremely disappointed in AAP’s new “strategy” of apologizing for corruption allegations to get rid of defamation cases. No honesty without courage. And you’re losing credibility this way. Should rather go to prison for the truth.
— Raghu Ram (@tweetfromRaghu) March 16, 2018
I hv been regularly dropping my shows to attend several court hearings related to 2013, 14 and 15 poll campaign without any legal assistance from AAP. Another one pending tomorrow and I hv been again engaging my personal lawyers for this. Will carry on this fight. Jai Hind___
— Dr Kumar Vishvas (@DrKumarVishwas) March 16, 2018
I express my strong disagreement on Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Bikram Majithia.This unnecessary apology has hurt
sentiments of lakhs of volunteers.This is a huge setback for Antidrug campaign.Our fight against drugs continue @ZeePunjab @HTPunjab @thetribunechd @News18Punjab
— Meet Hayer MLA (@meet_hayer) March 16, 2018
Lok Insaf Party which is in alliance with AAP in Punjab also attacked the party over the issue. "This is a betrayal to people of Punjab, people will not bear with it. This is a non-issue, probably there is a back-door dealing behind it. Our MLAs will sit together and take a collective decision," Lok Insaf Party leader Simarjit Singh Bains said.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal attacked AAP's politics and said, "This exposes cheap politics by AAP, they spread false propaganda. They build their entire election campaign (in Punjab) on a lie, good that he has accepted his lies.
Kejriwal had on Thursday apologised to former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia for accusing him of being involved in the drug trade, saying he had learnt that his allegations were unfounded.
The chief minister in his apology letter had said, "In the recent past I made certain statements and allegations against you (Majithia) regarding your alleged involvement in the drug trade. These statements became a political issue."
"Now I've learnt that the allegations are unfounded. Hence there should be no politics on such issues. I hereby withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and apologise for the same," he said.
Following the apology, AAP's Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann resigned from his post on Friday. Confirming his resignation, he tweeted that he will continue to fight against the drug mafia and corruption in Punjab. "I m resigning as a president of AAP Punjab ...but my fight against drug mafia and all kind of corruption in Punjab will continue as an 'Aam Aadmi' of Punjab," he wrote.