Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann on Friday resigned as the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Punjab chief, a day after party supremo Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia drew flak from state unit leaders. It was the same court where Majithia filed a defamation case against the Delhi CM for levelling drug trade involvement allegations against the former Punjab minister.
In a further jolt, the Lok Insaf Party (LIP), the AAP's ally in the state, had also snapped ties with the party in the wake of Kejriwal's apology.
As many as 20 MLAs, including two legislators of the LIP, took part in the meeting in the morning, even as a few MLAs stayed away from the second round of the meeting held in the evening.
Among the AAP leaders involved in the informal parleys was Ashish Khetan, who is said to have made frequent trips to Chandigarh but kept his visits under wraps, claims the SAD leader. "We were told that Arvind ji will also be in the meeting". Now I've learnt that the allegations are unfounded.Hence there should be no politics on such issues. "Punjab Govt can't ignore these facts", Sidhu said. All the three secured bail and offered to face trial, stating they stood by the allegations made by them.
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Among those who played a key role in bringing the AAP leaders to the negotiation table were Akali leaders based in Delhi, including Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who was elected to the Delhi assembly on Bharatiya Janata Party ticket in the 2017 bypoll.
Among other issues, drug abuse was a major issue in the Punjab Assembly elections a year ago, he said.
Khaira said that he was getting numerous messages from volunteers and that he wanted to ensure them that whatever decision is taken, would be in the interest of Punjab. "I said we are fighting a war against drugs.". "Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should order Majithia's arrest at the earliest", reads his statement in The Tribune (TT).
The members said they were very angry with this apology while others felt that they wanted to ask Delhi leadership on apology issue.