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‘AAP Bachao Andolan’ (Save AAP initiative) launched to restore Aam Aadmi Party

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AAP Bachao Andolan in New Delhi

On March 26, 2017 (Sunday), I went to be a part of the event “AAP Bachao Andolan” (Save AAP initiative) held at Jawahar Lal Nehru National Youth Center, DDU Marg in New Delhi. The conference started at 11:30 am, where I met Dr. Munish Raizada and other people, who are working to save the AAP from the corrupt practices.

AAP Bachao Andolan is an extension of No List, No Donation or Chanda Bandh Satyagraha initiative which unveils the issue of financial opacity in AAP. It also speaks volume about the marauding of financial transparency along with political idealism that AAP promised on its culmination. More than 100 AAP volunteers gathered to attend the event.

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Since the launch of the campaign, Dr. Raizada is working with others to restore AAP with its old fundamentals and principles on which it was found. Raizada, who is the former convenor of NRI wing of AAP, is standing with the committed volunteers of AAP’s Women’s wing to bring transparency in the system.

In the purview of the upcoming Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Elections, the AAP Bachao Aandolan has put forth the following demands from the leadership of the party:

i) Restore Financial Transparency:

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha convener Dr. Munish Raizada has been demanding the party to make donors’ list online. It may be noted that the party has concealed its donors’ list since June 2016.

ii)  Restore Swaraj within AAP:

Ticket selling: For the upcoming ‘Municipal Corporation Elections’ in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party has allocated tickets to the new faces or to the members from other parties. This has created distrust among the core volunteers and ardent supporters of the party.

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The party has given tickets to paratroopers and newcomers in the name of ‘winnability’, but it smacks of a deeper malaise of ticket selling and exchange of money. Also, volunteers have cast aspersions on the nomination process of selection of candidates, saying that it is fake and does not conform to the principle of Swaraj that AAP so dearly vouches for. They are asking if it were not for ticket selling and nepotism, how come the party has ignored the committed party workers who have been toiling hard since last 4 years. Has the party failed to groom leaders even at the ward level (for MCD elections)? asks Raizada.

iii) Restore Internal Lokpal:

AAP’s internal Lokpal system has collapsed, thus there is no authentic mechanism for the volunteers for grievance redressal.

While speaking to some of the volunteers to get a glimpse of the depth of the problem, I came to know from Mrs. Suman Kaushik and Mrs. Sabita Mishra about the sycophancy involved in AAP and bribery for buying the tickets worth Rs. 25 to 50 lakhs.

At the end of the press conference, Dr. Raizada reiterated on adopting the path of non-violence for restoring AAP.

– by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

Next Story

Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s Exit Raises Questions Over AAP’s Future in Punjab

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself

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File photo: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.

The recent exit of politically outspoken leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fold in Punjab, at a time when general elections are around the corner, has raised a question mark over the party’s political future in the state.

It is not that Khaira, who was elected on the AAP ticket in the February 2017 assembly polls, was indispensable for the party in Punjab.

His exit, however, has shown that the AAP central leadership in Delhi continues to be unaffected by the self-created crisis in the Punjab unit that began in August 2016.

Khaira, who was suspended from the AAP along with another legislator, Kanwar Sandhu, in November 2018 for “anti-party activities”, last week floated a new party – Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) – and has given enough indications of splitting the AAP down the middle.

Six AAP legislators in the state were present at the launch of the new party even though they did not share the stage with Khaira.

The AAP’s Punjab unit is in complete disarray – be it the leadership crisis, lack of political direction or agenda or the complete disillusionment of its cadre.

Max hospital
Arvind Kejriwal.

It’s not the first time that the AAP central leadership has committed political harakiri with the Punjab unit. It has become clear now that the AAP central leadership, instead of letting the Punjab unit take on the ruling Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance, ends up shooting itself in the foot every time.

Khaira was earlier unceremoniously removed as Leader of Opposition (LoP) by the AAP central leadership in July 2018. He openly rebelled against the party high command by dissolving the the AAP’s Punjab organisational structure and seeking complete autonomy for the state unit.

The AAP ousted its then Punjab unit chief, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, on flimsy bribery charges in August 2016, just months ahead of the assembly polls.

Chhotepur, who nurtured the party right from the day of its conception in Punjab, was shown the door after the emergence of a video clip in which an AAP worker was shown giving money to him. Even before this, Chhotepur was being sidelined in Punjab affairs with Delhi leaders like Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak calling all the shots.

As the Chhotepur episode unfolded, AAP leaders at the constituency and district level rebelled. Chhotepur, who accused the AAP central leadership of corruption in allotting tickets for various assembly seats, finally exited the party and formed a new political outfit – the Apna Punjab Party (APP) that has practically remained a non-starter.

The AAP appointed actor-comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi, with no political experience, as its state convener in place of Chhotepur. Ghuggi left the party on a sour note just months later.

Two AAP MPs from Punjab, Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa, were suspended in August 2015 for questioning the AAP’s leadership style.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Flickr

Gandhi, a cardiologist and known social worker, is the MP from Patiala constituency, while Khalsa, a former diplomat, represents Fatehgarh Sahib in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi was also unceremoniously removed from the post of leader of AAP in the Lok Sabha.

The AAP, which was completely rejected elsewhere in the country in the April-May 2014 general elections, won four Lok Sabha seats from Punjab – Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The AAP started the year 2016 on an upswing. Poll surveys and the party’s own political calculations gave it anything from 75 to over 100 seats in the 117-member assembly.

The party, however, finished second and managed to end up as the main opposition party with 20 legislators. One legislator, lawyer-activist H.S. Phoolka, resigned from the assembly seat recently and even quit the AAP.

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With Khaira’s exit, his status as a legislator and the future of the six legislators who seem to be in his camp, will be seen in the coming months.

The party, which is the newest entrant on Punjab political scene – dominated largely by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress over the decades – is facing as much a challenge from its implosion.

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself. (IANS)