New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal has a new challenge on his home turf, New Delhi assembly constituency, and it might prove to be a tough one. Vinod Kumar Binny, the first rebel MLA of the Aam Aadmi Party and the first 'victim' of Kejriwal's coterie, is set to pitch himself against his former party chief. Kejriwal had emerged as a giant-killer after defeating three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit last year, but this time he has to be very careful. Binny would be targeting the same vote base which backed the AAP founder. With middle-class support shrinking, Kejriwal might find himself in trouble.
Binny, who was expelled from the AAP for allegedly making false statements in public against the party and its leadership, sees his second innings as an ideological rather than personal battle. "It's an ideological battle with Arvind Kejriwal and AAP, who fooled voters in Delhi with false promises and hopes. Earlier too, I had questioned the party but faced the consequences,” Binny told Firstpost.
While he is yet to announce formally whether he would be contesting from his old assembly seat, Laxmi Nagar, or from New Delhi, his search for a new office premises in New Delhi offers clear indication. Also, he has been active in Kejriwal's constituency over the last three months with a big team, working silently among people.
Binny was the first MLA to have blown the bugle against his own party alleging that they had failed to bring ‘Swaraj’ within the party as promised and not only to Delhi voters but the entire country.
“When I was about to join the AAP, Kejriwal used to quote my example of successfully implementing the concept of Swaraj and Mohalla-sabhas in my ward as a municipal corporator and asked party colleagues to follow the model. Ajit Singh Nagar’s book had inspired me on Swaraj,” he said.
A two-term Municipal Corporation of Delhi corporator, Binny blamed the AAP for keeping the Delhi public in dark over the Jan Lokpal Bill. “The Jan Lokpal draft was not ready with them, so its implementation was out of question. It was all drama that Kejriwal and his team staged before the public, and they are quite proficient in this art,” he alleged.
Behind his expulsion from the party, Binny has a conspiracy theory. “They may level any number of allegations against me, but the fact is that my expulsion was pre-decided. I was told beforehand by a close source, who’s a senior leader and whose name I can’t disclose due to obvious reasons, that they wanted to get rid of me, after using me ‘to the fullest’. They follow ‘use and throw’ policy with everyone, and that’s why so many important leaders, members and volunteers left the party.”
If Binny contests the forthcoming poll, what issues would figure in his poll agenda?
“We have undertaken an awareness campaign to expose Kejriwal’s lies, false commitments and the way he misled the public. He said he would provide discounted electricity and 700 litres of free water; but instead he took to subsidy path like the Congress. After 700 litres, water was made expensive. The public was not informed about the fine print before the election. He refused to meet and address the issues of contract teachers and DTC employees, when they sat on a dharna. Why wasn't AAP’s pre-poll promise of having a women commando force for women’s safety implemented? We’ll take up all these issues,” he maintained.
However, the AAP doesn’t consider Binny a threat to its winning prospects. “We are not bothered whether he’ll contest against Kejriwal or from elsewhere. He’s no threat to AAP. It was the disciplinary committee’s decision to sack Binny for publicly making false statements against the party and its leadership, thereby bringing disrepute to the party. It wasn’t an individual’s decision. He started levelling allegations because he wasn’t made a minister,” an AAP leader justified.
“Binny is a career politician and Kejriwal is insecure of both ambitious and talented people in the party. But I don’t think, he can dent Kejriwal’s chances in an upmarket constituency like New Delhi. He has a better appeal in relatively backward areas in East Delhi,” remarked AAP’s former National Executive member, Surajit Dasgupta.
“On the contrary, in downmarket pockets, by winning a few thousand AAP votes in his favour, he may prove beneficial for the BJP candidate,” he added.
But, Binny’s supporters are not bothered by any arithmetic. “We’re with him as we’ve seen him working for his people and constituency. Even if he changes from Laxmi Nagar to New Delhi, we’ll go out to support him and render our help,” said Rajesh, a Laxmi Nagar resident and an apparent Binny supporter.
“Despite being an MLA, he raised his voice against AAP misleading voters. Now we’re trying to convince voters of New Delhi constituency by exposing Kejriwal’s pack of lies,” added another member of Binny’s team.
Unlike a few AAP MLAs, Binny claimed that he was never approached by the BJP nor vice versa. “I swear, neither I contacted the BJP nor did they. Any kind of alliance with the BJP depends on their agenda and issues,” he added.
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Updated Date: Nov 12, 2014 11:39:55 IST