In the National Executive (NE) meeting yesterday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) removed Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from their Political Affairs Committee (PAC). This action comes after a long growing rift within the party, which some staunch Kejriwal followers sneeringly referred to as “socialists”. Another explained that the party was socialist overall, but these people called themselves socialist – or whatever that is.
There are several allegations against the duo that have been brought out into the open by the party in ways that do more to reveal the ugly methods to achieve political objectives than shed light on the supposed crimes of Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav. Addressing some here.
Yogendra Yadav is ambitious
This accusation coming from the blind supporters of the person who has not let ultimate power rest in any hands other than his own since the birth of the party is so absurd as to make no sense. In a party claiming to be against high command, it would be logical to expect that once Arvind Kejriwal was Chief Minister, someone else would take over the party’s command. Not even BJP and Congress have this kind of singular control over power. Without ambition, AAP wouldn’t exist. It now appears that the sole ambition to lead must be Kejriwal’s and all other ambitions must be to support. I see nothing wrong in expecting Arvind Kejriwal to resign.
Yogendra Yadav made a public spectacle of differences in the party.
This is not true. Manish Sisodia started the public accusations game (READ THESE AGAIN) in the wake of the Lok Sabha Elections disaster with a public letter criticizing Yogendra Yadav for his differences with Naveen Jai Hind. The very fact that Yogendra Yadav alone got what amounted to an “expose” of inappropriate behavior for a spat between two people shows which side of that spat Manish Sisodia fell on. Yogendra Yadav’s reply to this letter STATES HIS PREFERENCE to keep this quiet and replies with generic but important issues plaguing AAP – the questions raised in this letter were never addressed to the best of my knowledge. Incidentally, Naveen Jai Hind has continued his vicious vendetta against Yogendra Yadav to date and it is currently widening fissures in Haryana AAP.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav threatened press conferences, sabotaged party campaign
I have not seen evidence of this. Raising questions where party is clearly going wrong, in my eyes amounts to support of the party and not sabotage. If these questions raised repeatedly are never answered, while the opposite claims are made in public, it would be the duty of any honest person to be the whistleblower – incidentally something AAP respects a lot except in own party. Several Kejriwal supporters have claimed that “Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had to be constantly managed to not harm AAP.” Considering that Prashant Bhushan could draw attention to anything he said any time and Yogendra Yadav was routinely appearing for the party in national media, this accusation is absurd.
If they wanted to damage the party, they could have done it any time. What they appear to be doing is raising urgent and genuine questions about party functioning to strengthen the party – which got managed by shutting them up over and over and the problems remain. These questions have been asked by me as well as many others who thought AAP actually was being honest about its values. The Kejriwal faction clearly appears to be fine with the lack of democracy as long as they get power in Delhi. The damage to AAP does not appear to be a concern, since the core circle of power is sitting lush with self importance right now and have no wish to contest further elections. It appears that this is being projected as “socialist” – a disturbing echo of BJP’s contempt for democracy.
This is about greed for Rajya Sabha seats
So what if it is? Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan have both acted in the interest of the party. Denying seats is very different from running a public vilification campaign against them. One is a party decision, the other is party sabotage.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav have embarrassed the party publicly
Increasingly, the much acclaimed honesty of the Aam Aadmi Party appears to be the “appearance” of honesty rather than actions of honesty. If dishonesty in a party committed to honesty is exposed, it is an opportunity for reform. If dishonesty in a con is exposed, it is a trigger to shoot the messenger. In my view, a party that doesn’t follow appropriate decision making procedures but makes big claims of representative democracy is dishonest. This was also reflected in their all male cabinet, independently of any influence or accusations by either Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav. When a senior party leader has communal posters put up, while the party claims to fight communalism, it is dishonesty. For an honest party, the embarrassment is that these things happened, for AAP, the embarrassment appears to be that these things got exposed. It is like saying “it is okay to steal as long as you don’t get caught” – a far cry from the advertised adamant principled stands.
Prashant Bhushan wanted a post for his sister.
So what? The question ought to be one of merit, yes? Last piece of propaganda was all about merit determining this – and all the people making the accusations actually didn’t have an issue of merit about her. As for family members, I hear Ankit Lal wanted a ticket for his wife that Yogendra Yadav didn’t allow? Notice how he hasn’t been kicked as head of social media for wanting it.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav interfered with the candidate selection process
What candidate selection process? From the much hyped start, we have seen people walk into the party to get seats. If they flagged names for scrutiny and two candidates actually had to be withdrawn, it only shows that their concerns were legitimate. Perhaps the Kejriwal club wanted to run with the problem candidates for reasons of their own?
Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan supported AVAM
I have said this before and I say it again. If an argument has merit, it has merit. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Regardless of who incites and who funds. While the mysterious 2 crore funding was not illegal, it was clearly dubious that no one in AAP has any idea of who gave so much money. For a party that made a huge fuss about donations received on social media, not a single day reported such a massive donation. I had independently asked Ankit Lal about this and he explained that only online donations get reported on social media. I went to the extent of asking him to confirm the payment with their accounts with bank, as they could just as easily be planted if the website got hacked.
Regardless, it seems rather strange that no one celebrated such massive donations received in a day for a party that got thousands of tweets celebrating a few lakhs received routinely. This amnesia is rather strange, even if not illegal for the party and does raise questions of who exactly this mysterious donor is to donate such a massive amount without anyone noticing. More importantly, even after the controversy broke, there is no attempt to find out the source of the donation – which to me indicates that the source is known to those who matter and can order an investigation. So I don’t see AVAM’s questions as entirely irrelevant, though their timing was certainly mischievous and motivations unknown.
If people raising questions about party functioning gravitate toward others raising questions about party functioning, I don’t see this as a conspiracy so much as long festering questions that are important enough for people to persist in seeking answers and raising the pressure. To dismiss them as anti-party activity is as good as saying expecting transparency from AAP is against the party culture – regardless of TV studio claims.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were hungry to contest elections
Unless it is only Delhi that needed the oh-so-honest party, I fail to see the problem with this. The Lok Sabha defeat was more because of Kejriwal’s stunts in Varanasi that appropriated party resources disproportionately to fight from a deliberate position of disadvantage AND key speeches ignoring what AAP was promising to focus on random allegations and accusations. If he’d stayed in Delhi, there would be far more people in the Lok Sabha today. But a growing conspiracy theory says that this was pre-planned, just like the BJP sweep of UP was pre-planned. This is further supported by the fact that a disproportionate number of bogus voters found in Varanasi has not led to so much as a whimper of protest or call for repolling by Aam Aadmi Party. 6.5 lakh duplicate names in a constituency with 17 lakh voters can hardly be a “mistake”.
Incidentally, the push to contest Lok Sabha Elections nationwide is what got Kejriwal the flood of volunteers from all over India, arriving to saturate the Delhi Campaign on the ground. They immediately got thanked in the form of “Thanks for Delhi, but we won’t be contesting in your area, we will focus on delivering here.” All of a sudden the government that claims to have delivered miracles in 49 days is in a desperate rush to be able to deliver its promises at all in five years to the point of not finding any women worthy of delivering them and the chap holding the ultimate leadership not even attending an NE meet as crucial as this one (but has time to handle party responsibilities if Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav and their pesky questions are removed).
Obviously Kejriwal can’t do both. And he can’t let go of power enough to let the party grow either.
The bottom line is clear. Kejriwal & Co have got what they wanted. Now they intend to enjoy it and ignore any questions raised because no one can do a thing to them anymore. Not the people of Delhi, not supporters, members or donors of the party. If they all turned against him, they still can’t do a thing for the next five years. Accountability is no longer an issue. Kejriwal has no time for anything except… um… 10 days delivering promises to Bangalore district of Delhi. The rest was a fantasy woven to con enough people into donating and supporting.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav got removed democratically
This is complete nonsense. If Arvind Kejriwal not only clings to power, but uses the affection people have for him as a weapon to influence party decisions, it is not democratic. If Kejriwal submitted a resignation as National Convenor and refused to withdraw it unless Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were removed, it is emotional blackmail. Plain and simple. It is a misuse of the affection people have for him to use their wish to continue following him to eliminate people from positions of power. It is not democratic to request Mayank Gandhi to refrain from voting and Mayank doing so raises questions about his commitment to party democracy as well. The replacement of the representative from Rajasthan was clear cut “vote rigging”. After all this tamasha, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were defeated by a mere three votes. Democratic my foot.
If the NE decision actually represented the views of the party, there wouldn’t be supporters still using “paanch saal Kejriwal” pictures for their profiles furious about the ouster of Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. Staunch supporters have abruptly stopped. This was a wrong decision on every level. You can rig “democracy”, you cannot make a decision that doesn’t reflect the interests of those it claims to to “feel” right.
With this decision, the Aam Aadmi Party has openly shed the burden of ethics weighing it down for so long. With five years of government secure, and Kejriwal in no mood or need to contest anything anymore, the Kejriwal camp has simply abandoned the party in the rest of the country with their reckless actions for ego.
In the process, what the AAP seems to have forgotten in their intoxication with themselves is that governments come and go. Five years is not very long in the life of a nation. An anti-corruption party targeting Prashant Bhushan with an underhanded hate campaign and removing him from the PAC is its own one sentence self-explanatory story.