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Online Classes :- Current Affairs Part-3

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Rhetoric, reality, sorry

It is already clear that the Aam Aadmi Party’s national convenor, Arvind Kejriwal, will have to deal with a significant political fallout for his unconditional apology to former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia. AAP MP and Punjab party president, Bhagwant Mann, has resigned from his post, as has his co-president, Aman Arora, while other senior party members have loudly asserted they will continue to fight corruption in the state. But beyond the immediate consequences for Kejriwal within his party, the apology — his second in seven months with the sword of defamation cases hanging over him — is noteworthy for another reason. It represents the serial dilution of the party’s brand of politics as well as its failure to find the political resources to live up to the standards it propounded. It is precisely because of AAP’s large claims about tackling corruption and its invective against certain politicians in particular, and politics-as-usual as a whole, that Kejriwal’s retraction reeks of submission, even to members of his own party.

The AAP has justified the apology on the grounds that “the ongoing litigations are not helping, and the party will try and resolve all of them”. While the AAP does face a merciless and unsparing opponent and there is a case to be made against the selective filing of defamation cases to suppress and stifle the jab and thrust of political debate, the AAP’s current meekness stands out. In earlier days, the party held multiple press conferences accusing political leaders, parties and business houses of corruption, promising a cleansing. The scale of its ambition was also made clear by the number of seats it contested in the Lok Sabha and then in various states with results that can charitably be called mixed. Amid all the shrill rhetoric, however, the party held out the promise of opening up spaces, where well-meaning, if over-zealous, newcomers could go some way in filling the lacunae left by larger, older political parties.

By apologising to a politician he and his party earlier claimed had ties to crime and corruption, not because of any new or countervailing evidence, Kejriwal has resurrected a question mark on his own politics. That the AAP may not have the resources to combat the cases against it cannot justify its capitulation on an issue it has helped bring centre-stage. As a fledgeling party, AAP displayed audacity. Now, it appears that its leadership lacks the political nerve to stand up to the consequences of its own ambition.

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