By Aditya Aamir
‘Apology’ is not like saying ‘sorry’, which is just another word Indians all over keep uttering, most times not even meaning it, sincerity not in tone nor in intent. ‘Sorry’ is generally looked down upon and cast aside disparagingly with these words, “Angrez Chala Gaya Par Sorry Chod Gaya.” So, when Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ‘tenders an apology’ to former Akali Dal minister Bikram Singh Majithia, it is an insult to AAP’s Punjab unit. ‘Apology’ carries some weight, it’s serious.
In Punjab people keep saying sorry. If Lovely says sorry to Pinky for being late by half an hour to the afternoon date, you know ‘Lovely’ is male and ‘Pinky’ is his lovely date… “Green Park bus stand, teekh Char Baje, OK Lovely,” Pinky tells Lovely, and Lovely promises, “Don’t you worry Pinky – teekh Char Baje; on the dot, promise!” Then, he misses the 4 pm deadline and says ‘Sorry’: and you know who is the loser.
Same-same Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘five-star Jarnail’, top sardar. The man goes to Udta Punjab, to win another state, and in the heat and dust of the elections, levels some serious coke (you know cocaine) charges against Majithia, and the Punjabi aam aadmi feels jilted when without even a sorry to compensate, he apologises. What for? asks the ‘Mann’!
As it happened, a criminal defamation suit was filed by Majithia against Kejriwal, Ashish Khetan and now Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in May 2016. They were granted bail but they insisted they stood by their allegations against Majithia. Kejriwal, Khetan and Singh had on three occasions — once at a rally, then at a street corner meeting and the third time from the Chandigarh Press Club — said that Majithia was a drug lord. The case was at the evidence stage and out of four witnesses, two were cross-examined, when Kejriwal developed cold feet and said sorry …oops, tendered apology.
Not just Kejriwal, the much vaunted, fearless investigative-journalist-turned-politician Ashish Khaitan of Tehelka and Cobrapost fame also sent an apology letter, prompting Majithia to withdraw his defamation suit against them. But not Sanjay Singh whose surname suggests he is no less of a lion than a Punjabi sardar; the case against Sanjay Singh has not been dropped, the next hearing of which will be held on April 2 at a Ludhiana court. .
According to reports, the Kejriwal-Khetan apology took its own time to be worked out. It was not like Lovely-telling-sorry-to- Pinky, on the dot regret missing a date deadline. This one had to go through several hours of behind the doors tu-tu/mein-mein before the two parties came to a settlement, deal.
Khetan spoke for himself and Kejriwal. And a Delhi Akali Dal leader with previous BJP affiliation parleyed for Majithia. One report said the apology was “stage-managed” after several meetings. Kejriwal agreed because he was convinced he would be convicted. Now he is up for an AAP lynching in Punjab.
The Punjabi Aam Aadmi is mighty sore that Kejriwal offered an apology and that too in writing, and in court. So much so, there is a revolt brewing in AAP’s Punjab unit, which was caught off-guard and has lost face. The entire AAP campaign in 2016 Punjab was about Udta Punjab under Akali rule, and now to go through forced rehab because Kejriwal said ‘I apologise’ was admitting that the entire Punjab AAP was stoned – the shame of it, cannot be washed away in this Janam at least.
There are reports that of 18 of the 20 AAP MLAs in the Punjab Assembly want to split and form their own party, a “separate, independent group”. Fortunately, for AAP and Kejriwal, there was no consensus, but the threat remains. Punjab AAP state unit chief, Bhagwant Mann (the Mann!) is one of those who’s livid at Kejriwal.
Mann, who is a Sangrur AAP MP in the Lok Sabha and in his yellow Pagri a standout in the Lower House, is a most-popular AAP leader in Punjab. He leads a group in the state AAP unit which considers Kejriwal, Khetan and Sanjay Singh as ‘outsiders’ butting into state affairs of which they have no clue about.
Kejriwal’s soundboard, Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, is the Punjab state affairs in-charge but he is more or less stranded, firefighting in the national capital, which has its own set of ‘Kejriwal-induced problems’. Punjab gave AAP all its four Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and with an year and little more to go for the next general elections, AAP will once again have to start from scratch, all because Kejriwal’s ‘apology’ is by far more serious than Lovely saying ‘sorry’ to Pinky. (IPA Service)
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