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Dissident AAP MLAs plough lonely furrow in Delhi Assembly

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New Delhi: They don’t thump their desks when their colleagues do so after a thunderous speech an AAP legislator nor do they join the chorus against the minuscule opposition BJP in the Delhi assembly.

Despite being among the staggering 67 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 70-member assembly, they don’t seem to belong to the party.

Once the foot soldiers of the AAP, four legislators – Asim Ahmed Khan, Jitender Singh Tomar, Colonel Devinder Sehrawat (retd) and Pankaj Pushkar – now sit disaffected and disillusioned in the ongoing assembly’s winter session.

These legislators, who have fallen out of favour with AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for reasons ranging from graft to dissidence, have been the least participative during the session of the House.

The legislators, who sit together in the last row, have been sorely indifferent to what their party colleagues do in the assembly – whether it is the tabling of “historic” bills or protesting against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member O P Sharma for his sexist remark against AAP leader Alka Lamba.

On November 26, when a bulk of AAP lawmakers upped the ante against Sharma by massing near the speaker’s podium, they looked reluctant to join. To show solidarity, Khan, Tomar and Sehrawat merely stood up from their seats.

But when the sloganeering against Sharma grew louder and one of the visibly agitated AAP called them to join, they ambled towards the podium.

But, it was only Col. Sehrawat who pumped the air with his fist once and quickly slipped his hand into his trouser pocket.

Pushkar kept sitting and flipping through a document.

“It’s not that I am not with them (AAP). I am 50-years-old and I have a status. It won’t look nice if I protest in the well (speaker’s podium),” Tomar told IANS.

“Things look good only in limits. What’s the point in protesting when the matter has been referred to the ethics committee,” Tomar said, referring to Sharma’s remark against Lamba.

Sharma was suspended for the entire winter session and his case was referred to the assembly’s ethics panel but the AAP legislators kept protesting and demanded he be jailed.

Pushkar echoed this view.

“I am most obedient to the constitutional system. And I am the most active in the assembly,” Pushkar maintained.

“Why should I be the part of protest which is foolish? Once you have sent the matter to the ethics committee, how can you demand jail for him,” he asked.

Col. Sehrawat and Khan could not be contacted for their views despite several attempts.

Interestingly, Pushkar has been active only in opposing his party’s proposed bills in the assembly – so much so, that Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had to suspend him for two days.

The legislator, who openly supported Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav when they were expelled from the AAP, has taken on the party on various issues.

Like Pushkar, Col. Sehrawat too had rallied behind Yadav and Bhushan at the time of their expulsion in March, pitting himself against the party.

Tomar, whom the AAP shielded in the fake law degree case for a long time, was left to fend for himself after his arrest. He was asked to resign as the law minister.

A miffed Kejriwal had said that Tomar kept him in the dark.

Kejriwal summarily sacked Khan as the food minister during a press conference for demanding a bribe. Khan had said that he was the a “victim of internal politics”.

(IANS)

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Kejriwal’s Door to Door Donation Drive is a Farce: Munish Raizada

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors' list on its website and then only seek new donations.

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Kejriwal
Dr. Munish Raizada along with his Chanda Bandh Satyagraha team outside the office of AAP MLA Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar). File photo

Chicago: The Aam Aadmi Party Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has launched a door to door campaign seeking donations for the AAP.  According to former overseas co-coordinator of Aam Aadmi Party, Dr. Munish Raizada, this is nothing more than a misleading campaign!

Raizada says that Kejriwal has no moral right to seek donations from common man as he has dismantled financial transparency in AAP by removing donors list from its website. Displaying donors’ list showing real time donations and making the income and expenditure accounts available online were the basis and the promise of the AAP, emphasised Raizada.

Now, after hiding donors’ list and its balance sheets from the public, the AAP cannot claim to be practising alternative politics.

Munish Raizada, kejriwal
Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it. (File photo)

It may be noted that AAP removed the list of donors from its website in June 2016. Moreover, since then AAP has been surrounded with controversies related to donations. AAP had also received Rs 30.67 crore Income Tax notice, last year in November, implying that all is not well with AAP’s accounts, says Raizada.

He further questions Kejriwal, that if AAP has nothing to hide about its accounts and if AAP is honest with its account keeping then why is Kejriwal hiding the donations?

Even the donation policy that was earlier the pride of every AAP volunteer has been done away with. The donation policy on AAP website used to state: “Every single rupee donated to the party will be published on the website immediately along with the details of the donor. Every expense done by the party will also be published on the website.”

But rather than putting the donors’ list in public domain, the party’s corrupt leadership started blaming BJP and I.T. Department for harassing its donors.

 

munish raizada, kejriwal
Chanda Bandh Satygrah demands restoration of  lost values in AAP ( File Photo)

 

Opaque political funding is the fountain head of corruption. Further, Raizada says that if the party cannot be transparent in its political funding, then talking about fighting corruption and graft is a mere rhetoric. He said that the appeals by Chanda Bandh Satyagraha have fallen on deaf ears as far as the party’s

leadership is concerned. 

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors’ list on its website and then only seek new donations. Chanda Bandh Satyagraha was started by AAP’s volunteers in 2016, with an appeal to the public not to donate to AAP unless it makes its donation lists open and transparent.