Taking responsibility for the “mistakes” made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders during the release of the youth manifesto on July 3, party’s state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur apologised on behalf of his party on Friday in his position as the “head” of the AAP “family” in Punjab.
Chhotepur had convened an emergency meeting of party leaders here to devise a strategy to control the damage following the manifesto blunders and also appeal for better coordination within the party. Though prominent leaders of the party were not present, Chhotepur went ahead with the three-hour meeting, announcing his resolve.
Chhotepur said he was taking the entire blame on his shoulders for the cover page design of the manifesto (that had the AAP symbol, a broom, superimposed on a picture of the Golden Temple) and Ashish Khetan’s statement comparing the manifesto to religious scriptures and Guru Granth Sahib.
“Being the head of the AAP family in Punjab, I take full responsibility for the mistake on the part of any member of the party. From the core of my heart, I tender an unconditional apology for the mistake on the part of any office-bearer of the party. I beg pardon from all Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and Hindus for comparing our youth manifesto to holy scriptures of all these faiths,” he said in a statement issued following the meeting.
Chhotepur also asked party leaders to not speak loosely about issues, especially those related to the religion. “Things are only going to get worse in the days to come. If there is anything to be said on religion, let me handle it,” said Chhotepur. The party chief had on Thursday rued that he was not consulted by those preparing the manifesto about its design and mistakes could have been avoided had everyone been taken on board. “What has happened cannot be undone. We can only promise that there will be no such mistakes in the future,” he said. Sources said Chhotepur intended to discuss some other issues as well regarding lack of coordination within the party, but these couldn’t be discussed as most of top leaders were absent.
Those who attended the meeting included Himmat Singh Shergill, CD Kamboj, Baljinder Kaur, Aman Arora and Yamini Gomar. The leaders who remained absent were Bhagwant Mann, Sadhu Singh, Harjot Singh Bains, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Kanwar Sandhu.
Manifesto with new cover
AAP’s youth wing president Harjot Singh Bains said the distribution of youth manifesto with a “brand new” cover would begin from Khatkar Kalan village in SBS Nagar next week. “The youth wing will take the manifesto to all households of the state and explain what we are offering. The teams will start spreading the message from the native village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh,” he said.