The ugly AAP: Battle against Yadav, Bhushan shows what's wrong with party

Even if the AAP leaders reconcile their differences and present the façade of a happy family, the people are unlikely to be fooled. They will know that this is just a temporary arrangement that serves the individual egos and ambitions of each leader. It will be politics – and politicians – as usual. Like Mayawati’s BSP, the future of Kejriwal’s AAP is clearly written on the wall.

Sandipan Sharma March 04, 2015 08:20:27 IST
The ugly AAP: Battle against Yadav, Bhushan shows what's wrong with party

India's citizens should be grateful to Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav for triggering the ugly internal war within AAP.

Had they remained silent, we would have continued with the illusion of AAP being a party based on ‘idealism’, devoted to ‘public service’, founded on the principles of ‘internal democracy’ and an outfit where leaders put ‘sacrifice ahead of position of power’.

The grotesque war being fought shamelessly in public reveals that AAP represents none of the principles it had peddled. It is ultimately like any other Indian political party, minus the basic etiquette required to deal with internal conflicts with a modicum of tact.

The ugly AAP Battle against Yadav Bhushan shows whats wrong with party

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

What exactly is the difference between AAP and any other Indian party? In fact, it seems instead to be an amalgamation of their worst qualities. Like Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, it is personality-centric, and has a ‘supremo’ culture; like Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool, it humiliates dissenters and throws them out at the earliest opportunity; like the Congress, it is full of drawing-room politicians who want to usurp power through sycophancy and court intrigues; like the Jansangh and the BJP, it is eager to get rid of its founding members and senior leaders; and like the darbar of Hastinapur, it has a Dhritrashtra-type patriarch who watches in silence as the party’s honour is disrobed in public.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that Arvind Kejriwal himself triggered this war. Settling scores with Yadav and the Bhushans was always on his agenda; he was merely waiting for the right opportunity. And he cleverly used his oath-taking ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan to send the attack signal to his troops.

“Some people are suggesting that we will now contest elections in other states, some are saying that we will now go to five other states. I think it is their ahankar,” Kejriwal had said on February 15. Though the exact significance of his speech was missed in the euphoria of his victory, it is now clear that he was publicly rebuking Yadav for making statements to the media claiming that the party would target states like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

When the top functionary of a party uses a public platform to humiliate his colleagues, it should not come as a surprise that now everybody is washing the dirty AAP laundry on twitter and TV.

To be fair to the AAP, every political party witnesses a power struggle during the course of its evolution. During the Delhi election campaign, when Shanti Bhushan had questioned Arvind Kejriwal’s politics and ideology, Firstpost had pointed out that democracy in political parties has always been a myth in India.

From Indira and Sonia Gandhi’s Congress to VP Singh’s Janata Dal and Narendra Modi’s BJP, parties almost always revolve around personalities, who run them like personal businesses, treating those below them as followers, not collaborators.

This model has worked for decades because the leader acquires so much power and authority that he/she is embraced not just as the primus inter pares (first among equals), but worshipped as the ‘supreme leader’.

The leader’s ascent to the top is usually a long-drawn process, dotted with revolts, betrayals, public spats and, sometimes, nasty political battles. In the end, the winner takes it all and the loser either surrenders or walks out to join a different party.

But the problem with  AAP is that all this is happening way too early. And that the differences are not only over personalities but also policies and ideologies.

Yadav and the Bhushans are on one side of the divide; they are driven more by idealism and rigid principles that gave the party the virtuous image of a movement. On the other side are Kejriwal and his supporters who want to pursue political pragmatism that will convert the movement into a successful political party. Ideally, the party should have struck a viable compromise. Winning elections is important, but that was not the party’s only objective. The AAP succeeded only because it was seen as driven by change not merely power; people were enthusiastic about it only because it appeared to be rooted in idealism, honesty and principles of public morality.

Then there are the personality clashes. Ashutosh Gupta, Ashish Khaitan, the AAP’s TV studio leaders and intellectuals, Sanjay Singh and some of the others in this faction want to control the party now. They are aware that Kejriwal will soon have to quit the national convenor’s post under the one-man-one-post principle. But, like all sycophants whose sustenance depends on their benefactor, they do not want independent thinkers or leaders who have a pan-India identity to become parallel power centres.

Some of the AAP supporters and volunteers are still optimistic that the bickering within the AAP will stop. They have flooded Twitter with the hashtag #united AAP. But the damage is already done.

Even if the AAP leaders reconcile their differences and present the façade of a happy family, the people are unlikely to be fooled. They will know that this is just a temporary arrangement that serves the individual egos and ambitions of each leader. It will be politics – and politicians – as usual. Like Mayawati’s BSP, the future of Kejriwal’s AAP is clearly written on the wall.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Delhi riots: Court denies bail to Tahir Hussain, says ex-AAP councillor used 'political clout' to fan violence
India

Delhi riots: Court denies bail to Tahir Hussain, says ex-AAP councillor used 'political clout' to fan violence

The court said there was "ocular evidence" from independent witnesses which placed Hussain at the scene at the time of the riots. If released on bail, the possibility of him threatening or intimidating the witnesses could not be ruled out, it added.

Delhi violence: ED files chargesheet against Tahir Hussain in money laundering case
India

Delhi violence: ED files chargesheet against Tahir Hussain in money laundering case

The agency was probing the allegation that Hussain and people linked to him laundered funds to the tune of about Rs 1.1 crore to fuel protests against CAA and the subsequent violence

LAHDC polls in Ladakh: Counting of votes underway, BJP wins six seats, Independent candidate bags one
Politics

LAHDC polls in Ladakh: Counting of votes underway, BJP wins six seats, Independent candidate bags one

Leh recorded a 65.07 per cent turnout in the 6th Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) elections on Thursday, an official spokesman said