“Not even the king has the right to subordinate the interests of the state to his personal sympathies or antipathies.”
AAP “leader” Ashutosh started his blog with this statement to defend the expulsion of four AAP leaders from the party. If there is one person who needed to be reminded of this sentence today, it is none other than Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal has no moral ground to remain as the convener of AAP and here are the reasons.
1. By expelling four leaders from the party, the strong message Kejriwal sends out is that as long as he remains in power, no one should dare to question him or stand against him. We all make a hue and cry when politicians or the government snoop on us or crackdown on dissent or find ways to persecute people who are a threat to them politically. Today, the issue in AAP is not that Kejriwal cracked down on Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav. The issue is, if he can do this to his closest colleagues and one of the most powerful lawyers in the country, using blatant lies and fake allegations, there is no doubt he will do it to anyone who stands in his way in future. Is this what we the citizens want? Is this why AAP was formed?
2. The reason given for the expulsion of 4 leaders was precisely what Kejriwal uttered himself in 2012. At the Swaraj Samvad conference, when these leaders asked the question “Should we form another party”, it resulted in their expulsion. If that is the reason, then Kejriwal should be expelled first. He had emphatically said he will form another party with his 67 MLAs on a recorded telephone conversation soon after the election which was later leaked. What is more “anti-party” than the convener of the party declaring to split away with his MLA? How is applying different set of rules to different individuals justifiable
3. We also saw at the National Council meeting how Kejriwal used his own version of gundaism and victimization. This shows AAP has entered the territory of traditional Indian politics. If AAP had shown this face to the people before election, would it have won the Delhi election with this majority? Here is what a long-time volunteer Shashank wrote on Facebook group “Friends of old AAP” – “I feel the split is good. At least we now know what are the true colors of our leaders. Earlier we used to deny everything against Kejriwal assuming he is super honest, but now we know our leaders are no different. Same horse-trading, abusing, dictatorship, no transparency, no democracy or accountability. Since Kejriwal has made clear about his dictatorship, there is no reason left for me to support him or his new AAP”.
4. Kejriwal who used to enjoy the unquestioned trust of volunteers doesn’t have it anymore. The ruthless political games, manipulations, gundaism that Kejriwal played and the company of the people around him for the last two months places him next to Lalu and Mulayam. This distrust among volunteers became more evident when farmer Gajendra Singh committed suicide at the AAP rally. The same core volunteers who never doubted Kejriwal’s intentions or integrity, and defended him ferociously for the last three years, were looking at this suicide incident through skeptical eyes. Shouldn’t the national convener of the party have a minimum trust level among its core volunteers?
5. Look at the way the farmer’s suicide was handled in the past few days. An issue which should have been a disaster for the BJP became such a disaster for AAP that they ended up defending themselves against a murder charge. On the first day, AAP’s “chief” spokesperson Ashutosh was seen on television profusely apologizing for irresponsible remarks he made and then later he was seen crying for a full four minutes on national television. Even after Kejriwal apologized and took responsibility for everything that happened during the rally, he couldn’t take the conversation back to the real issues of farmers. The absence of Mr. Yadav’s logical skills and Atishi Marlena’s rationality was not just palpable but it stripped naked the incompetence of the current team.
Another long term volunteer Chaitra’s Facebook message to Kejriwal read like this: “If AAP ever fails then it won’t be because of BJP or congress or PB/YY, the so-called conspirators against you, but instead it will be because of YOU AND YOUR COTERIE”.
6. The compromises Kejriwal made to expel four leaders are taking a toll on his governance. The same tendencies are trickling down the hierarchy. Stories of MLAs taking bribes/favors and even victimizing those who complain against them are surfacing daily. The only thing matters in AAP these days is whether you are in the good books of Kejriwal. Many more such stories are on the way. Is this situation any different from Congress or BJP?
To change politics is exactly why lakhs of people rallied, donated, volunteered, campaigned and voted for AAP. Today, Kejriwal somehow doesn’t fit into the idea of AAP which came to change Indian politics. He might have been the star campaigner of AAP but it was not built with his personal money or only his effort. AAP belongs to every volunteer who walked/danced on the streets of Delhi and argued/convinced passionately online and offline. Arvind Kejriwal failed those volunteers, he killed the idea of AAP and he annihilated the hope of clean politics for a generation. For these very reasons, he should resign from the National Convener chair. Period.
Priya James is a seasoned AAP volunteer living in the USA. She scripted, made and edited 200+ videos for its official and unofficial web pages.