AAP suggests apology crisis half over as few Punjab legislators meet Arvind Kejriwal

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NEW DELHI: In the back, offering an apology to the former minister of Punjab and Akali leader, Bikram Singh Majithia, the AAP tried on Sunday to pacify the legislators of the party of the state of the north to avoid a division in the state unit.

The party supremo, the letter of apology from Arvind Kejriwal to Majithia for accusing him of being involved in the drug trade, took everyone by surprise, especially the Punjab unit of the AAP.

The president of the Punjab party, Bhagwant Mann, and his co-president, Aman Arora, had recently resigned their posts in protest against Kejriwal’s apology.

Of the 20 AAP legislators from Punjab, 10 lawmakers along with leaders of state units met Sunday with Deputy Prime Minister Manish Sisodia at his residence in Delhi, where Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also present.

It is said that the prime minister gave an explanation of his apology to Majithia.

Majithia had slapped a defamation case against Kejriwal and other AAP leaders for accusing the former of drug trafficking during the 2017 Punjab Assembly election campaign.

According to party sources, it is believed that the AAP legislators from Punjab present at the meeting were convinced by Kejriwal’s explanation.

However, only half of the dissident party’s legislators were present at the meeting, and the remaining legislators were still annoyed with the party’s leadership.

“Anyway, rule out any division in the party in Punjab, from now on, forming a separate group or dividing the party would require the consent of two thirds of the 20 MLA of AAP,” the sources said.

Among the outstanding absentees were the Leader of the opposition in the Assembly of Punjab, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Bhagwant Mann, deputy of AAP de Sangrur.

There were different demands from the AAP legislators and the leaders of the Punjab parties after Kejriwal’s letter of apology was made public, ranging from giving them more autonomy to forming a different group in protest.

Aman Arora, AAP’s legislator from Suna, who attended the meeting, said there was “lack of communication.”

The reason why Kejriwal had apologized is because he has several cases against him in many parts of the country. And some of them are in fast-track courts, he told reporters after the meeting more than two hours.

Arora said that the AAP legislator present at the meeting was convinced by the explanation given by Kejriwal since the legal battle was exhausting him and the party in terms of resources.

This, he said, also consumed the party’s supreme time, which could be used to focus on governance in Delhi.