Wednesday, 30 November, 2022
HomePoliticsBehind the ‘meek surrender’: Months-long negotiations between Kejriwal & Majithia

Behind the ‘meek surrender’: Months-long negotiations between Kejriwal & Majithia

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It was Kejriwal’s team which is believed to have first approached Majithia and the SAD leadership in an attempt to bury the hatchet.

New Delhi: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s unconditional public apology to Punjab’s Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia is the result of a long-drawn negotiation between the two political rivals, ThePrint has learnt.

During the negotiations, the Aam Aadmi Party chief is learnt to have repeatedly assured the SAD leadership that he will be able to convince his party leaders about his decision to apologise, a move that has sparked a row within AAP with the Punjab unit of the party revolting and calling it a “meek surrender”.

Several rounds of negotiations

Sources familiar with the backchannel talks in both parties told ThePrint that it was Kejriwal’s team which first approached Majithia and the SAD leadership in an attempt to bury the hatchet.

A senior AAP leader approached Majithia on behalf of the party convener, Kejriwal, after which the offer of an apology was made. The negotiations lasted several months, with Kejriwal and Majithia meeting in the national capital and Chandigarh on at least two occasions, the sources said.

Majithia, against whom Kejriwal had made several unfavourable statements alleging his involvement in the illicit drugs trade, however, was not easily convinced in the beginning, the sources revealed. While aides of the Delhi CM sought to convince Majithia that the statements made were part of routine political sloganeering, Majithia insisted that Kejriwal’s statements were “personal attacks” aimed at tarnishing the former Punjab minister’s image.

Kejriwal was ‘desperate’ to reach an understanding

According to the sources, that Majithia was bargaining from a position of strength was clear from the word go. In fact, sources also say that the wording of Kejriwal’s unconditional apology was also framed by Majithia’s legal team. In addition to the apology, which is already in the public domain, Kejriwal is also known to have given a verbal undertaking to Majithia that he will not make any personal allegations against him even in future.

A senior Akali leader who is a close associate of Majithia told ThePrint that it was very clear from day one that Kejriwal was “desperate” for an out-of-court settlement. “Our understanding was that since there was no case (against Majithia), he wanted to settle the issue,” the Akali leader said.

Hiccups in the negotiations

It was after much to and fro that the negotiations finally fructified, and Kejriwal agreed to give a written apology before the court hearing of the defamation case slapped by Majithia against him and AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashish Khetan for linking him to Punjab’s drug mafia without any evidence.

However, the news of the backchannel agreement was leaked before the court hearing, compelling the SAD leaders to release the apology before the hearing.

According to the sources, the SAD leadership suspected a senior AAP leader, who had also made similar allegations against Majithia, to have been the one to leak the information, prompting them to hurriedly hold a press conference Thursday and release the letter in the public domain.

The negotiations, which lasted over several weeks, were on the verge of breaking down at least on one occasion, when the SAD leadership alleged that Khetan was recording the negotiations. Khetan is learnt to have profusely apologised to Majithia to bring the negotiations back on track.

Khetan refused to comment on the controversy when reached by ThePrint.

SAD leaders again miffed with Kejriwal

The SAD leadership was, however, not comfortable with Kejriwal making political statements over the apology. It was, in fact, a part of the pact to not make any statements about the apology out of court, and let the issue be settled legally. However, in the aftermath of the AAP making official statements about the apology, the SAD leadership began releasing public statements against Kejriwal.

Delhi’s Rajouri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who represents the SAD-BJP alliance, has, in fact, sought Kejriwal’s resignation for “accepting his guilt on lies”.

According to the sources, it was Sirsa, who had been anchoring the negotiations on behalf of Majithia. Reached by ThePrint, Sirsa refused to comment on his involvement in the negotiations. “I am neither going to confirm nor deny it. It is a sensitive matter,” he said.

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  1. Balbir Singh Sooch personally is under debt of Dr Harish Khare’s services as his being ‘The Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune Group of Publications’ as experienced and adjudged him, Learned Dr Harish Khare Sahib, from only positive angle without any question mark so far, but not or like as now Punjab Leadership of AAP agitating against a tested ‘Political revolutionary,’ Arvind Kejriwal for the reasons best known to them and as a whole to Punjab Leadership.

    Law is always above the religions and imperfect humans as a net result stands established in the world so far, but the laws are being misused openly here and defaming our India. We have always to speak legally by maintaining the discipline within law to escape from the system operating and manipulating laws unjustly in India.

  2. What a useless story! Waste of time and data. Why do you guys give importance to deals between two losers?

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