Chandigarh: Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann and co-President Aman Arora on Friday resigned from their posts, a day after party Convenor Arvind Kejriwal apologised to a former state Minister for accusing him of involvement in the drug trade.
Mann, who announced his resignation on Twitter, said his fight against the drug mafia would however continue.
“I’m resigning as President of AAP Punjab… but my fight against the drug mafia and all kinds of corruption in Punjab will continue as an Aam Aadmi (common man) of Punjab,” Mann tweeted.
Mann, who represents Sangrur constituency in the Lok Sabha, was appointed the state party chief in May 2017.
Hours later, another AAP leader Arora said he was also putting in his papers.
“Rspctd @msisodia ji, due to painful turn of events since yesterday (Thursday), please accept my resignation from the post of co-President. Regards,” his tweet read.
On Thursday, Kejriwal withdrew his drug trade allegations against Bikram Singh Majithia, who is a brother-in-law of Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Badal, and an application regarding the same was filed in a trial court in Amritsar, where a defamation case filed by Majithia against the Delhi Chief Minister on May 20, 2016, is being heard.
“This proves that they were raking up the issue to tarnish my image and harm me and gain politically,” Majithia told reporters on Thursday.
“I will withdraw the case, which I had filed for what is right and for my own and my family’s honour.”
Majithia said another AAP leader Ashish Khetan too had submitted his offer of regret.
Reacting to Kejriwal’s apology, Leader of Opposition and AAP legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira said he was “stunned” by the development.
“We’re appalled (and) stunned by the apology of @ArvindKejriwal tendered today, we don’t hesitate to admit that we haven’t been consulted on this meek surrender by a leader of his stature,” he said on Twitter.
In another tweet, he said: “We promise to continue our tirade on the burning issue of drugs destroying the youth of Punjab.”
Journalist-turned-AAP legislator Kanwar Sandhu said Kejriwal’s apology in the defamation case is a “let-down to the people, especially the youth of Punjab”.
“We in Punjab have not been taken into the loop,” he said in a tweet a day earlier.