Delhi government’s ousted minister Kapil Mishra was heckled, dragged, beaten up inside Delhi Assembly and bundled out of the House on Wednesday — not by Opposition MLAs but by his own former party colleagues.
It was expected and long overdue. Rather, it was surprising why it took so long for the trusted lieutenants of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal to attack Mishra (this time physically)? Any voice of dissent against AAP’s top leadership has neither been tolerated nor rewarded. And this time, Mishra was no exception.
The AAP leadership has every right to stifle the voice of its disgruntled party leaders and volunteers if they raise a red flag against their own colleagues and question party functioning. If other mainstream national parties like Congress, BJP, CPM, AIADMK or Trinamool Congress can punish its leaders for speaking against the party, why not AAP?
But, according to ousted AAP leaders, the catch lies here — in the founding principles of AAP.
While launching the party, Kejriwal had promised that unlike Congress and BJP it would practice alternative politics. The voice of volunteers would be supreme. Every decision will be based on participatory democracy — by discussing with the electorate. Internal democracy would be the key principle within the party. “These terms were used as a tool to win voters but in reality, these were never practised. Whoever questioned the party’s decision, was shown the door,” a former AAP member said.
Before Mishra, there were many — a long list including AAP MLAs and MPs — who had faced attacks and finally booted out. To name a few — it all started with Vinod Kumar Binny — the AAP MLA from Laxmi Nagar, who became the “first victim of Kejriwal’s coterie” in 2014. He had blamed the AAP for keeping the Delhi public in dark over the Jan Lokpal Bill, which ultimately led to his expulsion.
Then there was the other MLA from Rohini, Rajesh Garg, followed by Karan Singh, who was leading the AAP volunteers’ group (AVAM); prominent woman face and national council member Shazia Ilmi; party’s intellectual faces Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, professor Anand Kumar and professor Ajit Jha; former diplomat and high-profile founding member Madhu Bhaduri, etc — all of them had to face the brunt — humiliated and booted out.
Party’s internal Lokpal (ombudsman) and former naval chief, Admiral L Ramdas too was expelled. The AAP MP from Patiala, Dharamvira Gandhi, had to leave and form his own party. Many of them were heckled like Mishra.
“As far as I am concerned, the party made sure that I was denied the right of a member of the national council of AAP to move a resolution in the meeting of the council and was actually heckled and forced out of the hall,” Madhu Bhaduri had shared her experience with Firstpost in 2014 after the incident. Bhaduri raised her voice against MLA Somnath Bharti’s midnight raids at Khirki Extension against African women and wanted to move a resolution on the issue.
According to ousted members, the top leadership in AAP — a tightly-knit group, close to Kejriwal, ensures who-so-ever challenges the Delhi CM or the party’s functioning and decision, should be ‘thrown out of the party’.
“He/she is humiliated, abused on social media, insulted in public and sometimes heckled before being thrown out of the party. Trolls heap up against the person on social media and the attacks are sharpened. In my case, I ensured never to attack any individual or enter into a public spat and resorted to the Gandhian way of protest. But the trolls in the party attacked me on social media," said Karan Singh, Convener, AVAM — a splinter group of AAP
"Now, the situation in AAP is such that if you are neutral to any issue or controversy that the party approves, you are under attack. After winning Delhi election, AAP compromised with each and every principle it had promised to abide by,” Singh added.
During his face-off with Kejriwal, AAP MLA Rajesh Garg posted the letter he had written to the former on Facebook: “You should try and understand the pain and the suffering of the ordinary worker of the party, who has actually forsaken everything to rid this country of corruption...Can we not do good work while sitting in the Opposition?...We came to serve the people and not to form the government.”
Has Kejriwal and his AAP taken note of Garg’s appeal?
Updated Date: May 31, 2017 22:59:09 IST