AAP plagued by infighting, resignations, as heavy MCD election defeat returns to haunt party

One week after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was routed in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) election, the party's leaders are in firefighting mode. Facing an existential crisis that threatens to wreak real damage upon the party's base, its leaders are meeting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal later on Tuesday, as he puts in place a reconstruction plan to revive the party he formed five years ago.

The Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi office wears a forlorn look after the MCD results were out. PTI

The Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi office wears a forlorn look after the MCD results were out. PTI

A report on NDTV mentioned that Kejriwal is likely to meet the 60-odd AAP legislators to draw up a road-map for the future. Among the leaders likely to play a more prominent role in the party's development is Kumar Vishwas, the report said. "Kejriwal will meet each of his 64 Delhi legislators one on one and will gather feedback on the party's work at the ground level. He will also meet AAP's volunteers, seen as the young party's backbone in its dream surge to prominence, but who seem to have lost steam after successive defeats this year — first in the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections, and then the drubbing the Delhi civic polls," the report said.

The party, which had clinched the Delhi Assembly election by an unprecedented mandate in 2015, winning 67 out of 70 constituencies, has had a reversal of fortunes in recent months. It won just 20 seats in Punjab, in the Assembly elections held in February, and failed to win even a single seat in Goa. In the MCD polls, which was being considered as a referendum on Kejriwal's popularity, it won just 46 seats in a 272-seat body, falling far behind the BJP which had claimed 181 seats.

The party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) met on Monday, and senior party leader Manish Sisodia had said Kejriwal was disturbed at the "anger" and public spats taking place in the party. "Whoever has any complaint should come and meet us, meet (Kejriwal) and tell him. Don't give statements and issue videos like this outside," said Sisodia, while referring to Kumar Vishwas, who had been issuing videos and giving interviews, yet chose to stay away from the PAC meeting.

Anger against Vishwas also spilled over at the PAC meeting, with Amanatullah Khan, the party's MLA from Okhla, resigning from the committee and making a slew of allegations against Kumar Vishwas and accusing the latter of being a BJP-RSS agent. Khan had claimed that Vishwas was calling MLAs to his residence and coaxing them to rebel to join the BJP.

His allegations were ridiculed by senior AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, who said Vishwas was like a younger brother to him. A report in PTI said senior AAP legislators have demanded the expulsion of Khan from the party. It is learnt that a few MLAs of the party also signed a letter, urging the top leadership to expel the Ohkla MLA. A separate letter, with the same demand, has
also been released by a Punjab MLA of the party.

Delhi ministers Kapil Mishra, Imran Hussain, Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri are among the signatories to the letter, a party source said.

The last week has been tough on Kejriwal and AAP. The party's Delhi unit chief Dilip Pandey resigned immediately after the results were announced on Wednesday.

"I have resigned from d post of AAP Delhi Convenor, conveyed to National Convenor @ArvindKejriwal to give this responsibility to someone else (sic)," Pandey, who was a crucial cog in the party's machinery, announced on Twitter.

A day later, on Thursday morning, senior party leader and its Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh also tendered his resignation.

Kejriwal has announced Gopal Rai to head the party's Delhi unit in Pandey's absence. The NDTV report, quoting sources in the party, said changes are also expected in the national team, and that is when Vishwas is expected to be given a bigger role to play, although it is not known yet what that role will be.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 02, 2017 13:50 PM

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