Chandigarh, Mar 16: The Lok Insaf Party broke its alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with whom it had contested Assembly elections in Punjab, over Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Lok Insaf Party president Simarjit Singh Bains also said that 15 AAP MLAs in Punjab want to quit Arvind Kejriwal’s party to form a new group. AAP has 20 MLAs in Punjab Assembly. Also Read - Captain vs Bajwa: Punjab CM Responds After MP's Letter to Police Chief Over Security Removal
“Out of 20 MLAs, 15 are in favour of forming a new party in Punjab”, Simarjit Bains was quoted as saying after Lok Insaf Party broke ties with AAP. Rift got widen within AAP’s Punjab unit and top leadership on Friday with party’s state chief Bhagwant Mann resigning from the top post. Mann, who announced his resignation on Twitter, said his fight against the drug mafia would continue. Also Read - UGC Final Year Exams: 'Reconsider September Decision', Punjab CM Urges PM Modi During COVID-19 Meet
Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP embroiled in a fresh controversy on Thursday after he withdrew his allegations and an application regarding the same was filed in a trial court in Amritsar, where a defamation case filed by Bikram Singh Majithia against the Delhi Chief Minister on May 20, 2016, is being heard. In a letter, Kejriwal said: “In the recent past, I made certain statements and allegations against you regarding your alleged involvement in the drug trade. These statements became a political issue. Also Read - Coronavirus Cases in Delhi Cross 1.45 Lakh-mark, Kejriwal Says Situation Under Control | Top Developments
“Now, I’ve learnt that the allegations are unfounded. Hence, there should be no politics on such issues. “Because of my allegations made against you at various political rallies, public meetings, TV programmes, print, electronic and social media, you filed a defamation case against us in the Amritsar court. “I, hereby, withdraw all my statements and allegations made against you and apologise for the same,” the letter read.
The apology didn’t go well with AAP’s Punjab unit which immediately revolted against Arvind Kejriwal’s move. AAP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira said Arvind Kejriwal’s apology stunned them and the state unit was kept in the dark about the move. “We’re appalled n(sic) stunned by the apology of Arvind Kejriwal tendered today, we don’t hesitate to admit that we haven’t been consulted on this meek surrender by a leader of his stature,” Khiara tweeted.
Another AAP MLA, Kanwar Sandhu, said Kejriwal’s apology let down the youth of Punjab and alleged that the party in the state was not informed about his move. “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,” Sandhu said in a tweet. If you stand for truth, facing defamation cases is a way of life. I am still facing defamation filed by Punjab cable mafia. Will fight it to the end,” he vowed.