Underfire over tendering an apology to SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal met 10 dissenting party MLAs from Punjab and explained them the reason behind his move that led to a controversy. All 10 MLAs came out united after attending the meeting at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence. However, two top party faces from Punjab, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP from Sangrur were absent from the meeting. As per reports, the MLA and top party bearers who met Kejriwal were convinced with latter’s explanation.
Kejriwal’s apology letter to Majithia for accusing him of being involved in drugs trade had backfired for AAP chief and had taken everyone by surprise. The party’s Punjab president Bhagwant Mann and its co-president Aman Arora had resigned in protest. Khaira, AAP leader in the Assembly, had termed the move as a reflection of ‘someone’s mental bankruptcy’. As of now, the meeting rules out any split in the party in Punjab, PTI reported sources aware of the meeting as saying. They also pointed out that forming a separate group or splitting the party would require the consent of two-third of the 20 AAP MLAs.
Speaking to media, Arora, former state co-president and MLA from Suna, said that there was some “miscommunication” between party’s state and Central leadership. He indicated that Kejriwal’s explanation has been accepted by party leaders. “The reason he (Kejriwal) had apologised is because he has several cases against him in many parts of the country. And some of them are in the fast track courts,” he told reporters.
The number of defamation cases were also consuming the party supremo’s time, which could be used for focusing on governance in Delhi, Arora said after attending more than two hour-long meeting. He also said that MLAs present in the meeting were convinced with the explanation, adding, the legal battle was draining him and the party in terms of resources. Arora further claimed the Centre wanted to put Kejriwal behind bars so that he would be unable to fight elections.