AAP infighting: Has the party said goodbye to pan-India plans?
The latest salvo fired by Bhagwant Mann, a trusted lieutenant of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, demanding immediate expulsion of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party has exposed deep fissures within the party and a clear demarcation between pro-Kejriwal and anti-Kejriwal factions.
New Delhi: The latest salvo fired by Bhagwant Mann, a trusted lieutenant of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, demanding immediate expulsion of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party has exposed deep fissures within the party and a clear demarcation between pro-Kejriwal and anti-Kejriwal factions.
"We should not forget that it's the party that is supreme, and not any individual, whosoever he may be. The removal of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the PAC was a very mild action. They deserve more,” Mann has reportedly told the media.
Does the statement made by Mann, the AAP’s MP from Sangrur (Punjab,) indicate that the party’s ambition to become a national player is getting sacrificed at the altar of infighting?
It's not just the parent unit of AAP at Delhi that is plagued by internal crisis; allegations and counter allegations, mud-slinging and dissension have spread to the AAP’s other state units like those of Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. That is a serious blow to a party that anyway doesn’t have much of a solid base outside Delhi.
Post the National Executive meeting and the ouster of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on March 4, AAP’s Maharashtra convener Mayank Gandhi expressed his displeasure over the decision and, demanded transparency and democracy in the party.
It received a backlash, as another party leader from Mumbai Anjali Damania strongly criticized Gandhi without losing time.
“I addressed my party volunteers through my blog posts. My attempt is to restore the founding principles of the party and to see that the primacy of volunteers, transparency and democracy be upheld. The party is undergoing a cleansing process and I expect things will soon improve," Mayank Gandhi told Firstpost.
Gandhi is not the only one. Thousands of volunteers from Delhi and outside harbor a similar view and they are in a state of confusion over the developments.
"It’s a very sorry state of affairs in Maharashtra. While, AAP is trying to get a foothold in the state, this kind of blame-game will have a damaging effect on us. On the instruction from a section within the party in Delhi, Anjali Damania leveled allegation against Mayank Gandhi. This kind of activity would spoil our efforts to expand beyond Delhi," an AAP member from Mumbai said on condition of anonymity.
"I’m not authorised to comment, but it pains when you see such negative incidents happening in party’s good times," added the member, who had campaigned in Delhi for AAP prior to assembly poll.
Though Kejriwal, the AAP convener, who has successfully retained the position, after the NE rejected his resignation offer, had denied having any "ambition of expansion, and would focus only on Delhi", it was Yadav, who immediately after the party’s landslide victory in Delhi spoke about the party’s expansion plan.
This was the beginning of dissension between Kejriwal and Yadav, compounded by a few other reasons.
After losing out as the member of NE, Yadav is now working amongst the farmers on the project – ‘Jai Kisan Abhiyan’ that deals with the issues of land acquisition, fertilizer, etc in Haryana, to establish his hold at the grassroots level.
"Today, Yadavji will address the farmers’ agitation in Vidharba," a volunteer of Yadav’s team said. Is it an attempt by Yadav to expand the party outside Delhi? Kejriwal is certainly against it.
So, what about the party’s ambitious ‘Mission Vistaar’ – that speaks of ‘progressing steadily in most of the states in the country and nationwide building of the party’?
"Mission Vistaar is basically to expand party’s base outside Delhi and across the country through a structured format of committees and sub-committees. In Punjab, we’re working towards establishing AAP as an alternative political force, which in days to come may replace the corrupt SAD government,” a Gurdaspur-based AAP volunteer said.
Added Shyam Singh Meena, an AAP volunteer from Rajasthan, "This in-fighting should stop or else it’ll be very difficult for us in Rajasthan to face the public. After all, the AAP is known as a party that is different from other political parties."
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