Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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This is no apology, Mr Kejriwal

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It is raining apologies of late. After the apology to Punjab leader Majithia, apologies to Gadkari and Sibal followed in quick succession. In spite of the letters being clear and legally sound and being accepted by the courts as well as the aggrieved parties concerned, the apology itself sounds a lot hollow.

The ostensible purpose of this exercise is to free Mr Kejriwal from the defamation cases filed against him and his cohorts, who, till a year back were masters of the art of shoot and scoot and stepped back a little only after the poll debacles in Punjab and Goa.

The reason why this appears hollow is actually what is not contained within the letters. Even while dishing out these apologies, the party made it clear that they were doing this only because of the myriad defamation cases that were supposedly draining the party resources, monetary and otherwise. The party also let it be known that the whole exercise is a strategy to counter the sinister designs of the ruling BJP that is trying its best to finish it off politically, using defamation cases and other dubious methods.

Take this report that appeared in the Indian Express:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bikram-majithia-apology-fallout-arvind-kejriwal-meets-punjab-mlas-5102640

Implicit in this (actually not so implicit), is a positioning that the apology is not because of a change of heart, but only because Mr Kejriwal is unable to devote time and resources for the defamation cases. In other words, Mr Kejriwal and the AAP let it be known very clearly that although prima facie, there is enough merit in all the accusations they made against various leaders from other parties, they are now offering this apology as a tactical move to devote their time and energy elsewhere.

 

It is not that the AAP leaders do not know that the letters of apology are unconditional and therefore, they alone will stand legally; yet, in the eyes of the public, they are making a crude attempt to portray themselves as the victims of the machinations of the BJP and these apologies are nothing but tactical retreat.

Or is there another reason for the sudden spate of apologies? It is possible that the party and its legal brains realized that Mr Kejriwal would be staring at disqualification as MLA and therefore the post of CM of Delhi, if there is a criminal conviction in even one of the cases and advised him to take the apology route.

Unfortunately for Mr Kejriwal, nobody is fooled. Not the public and not his own party lower rung leaders, let alone the regional leaders from Punjab. It has also been reported that Mr Jaitley is not very keen on accepting an apology if one comes his way. Apologies in mere words not backed by conviction serve no purpose other than to extricate a habitual offender legally.

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