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Not only have massive killings of dalits not bothered the political establishment, foot soldiers of the ruling have been on a quest to discredit Cobrapost. Replying to some of their biggest objections instead of individual and repeated replies.

Cobrapost is a puppet

This is problematic on several levels. The evidence they bring speaks for itself.This objection has not been raised about say.... the likes of , who targets the Congress specifically. Even if it were true, as long as the allegations are correct, they should be investigated, whether it is a BJP puppet or Congress puppet bringing them up. This is consistent with the stand I had taken on AVAM - which targeted and was supported by BJP in doing so. If their allegations were correct, they should be acted on. AVAM only targeting AAP is no excuse to ignore, just like Cobrapost "only targeting BJP" is no excuse to ignore.

However, Cobrapost, as a matter of fact does not only target the BJP. The expose immediately before the Operation Black Rain was about the UPA stealing the thunder of "Golden Quadrilateral"work done by NDA under Vajpayee and "expanding" it at massive cost with bent rules and hasty clearances. Previous exposes too have targeted Congress. BJP supporters attempting to silence exposes of their wrongs with ad hominem accusations remains a logical fallacy.

Cobrapost is attempting to sabotage BJP before Bihar .

Only true if BJP insists on backing the candidates tainted in the expose. BJP could also choose the way of honesty and justice and reopen investigations and solidly nail Nitish Kumar, who was the CM who scuttled the Justice Amir Das Commission of Inquiry that had nailed the culprits on coming to power. If BJP chose, it could use this to destroy Nitish Kumar. Laloo, messiah of the poor too has done precious little to get justice for this and could be confronted. It could even be projected as the transformation of BJP under their new and improved leader, . What BJP supporters are not saying is that they do not WANT justice for the dalits killed by their allies, which is why the expose is a problem. Cobrapost cannot be expected to cater to political desires for cover ups. It has provided the BJP the means to do a very high profile clean up of criminal elements in their party as well as nail their opponents. It cannot be considered Cobrapost's fault if BJP does not WISH to clean up their act and nail their opponent in the process.

The timing of Cobrapost's Operation Black Rain release is suspect.

I don't know why Cobrapost chooses their dates, but personally, I think before the elections is an excellent time to expose crimes and criminals so that people may choose who to vote for with eyes wide open.

***************************************************

Accusation from Congress supporters.

BJP benefits from riots and Cobrapost exposes before elections help BJP consolidate vote

This may be true, because a Yale study does show BJP males electoral gains with every riot. However, it is unclear whether exposes of a riot from the past would result in electoral gains as well. Regardless, even if people choose brutal killers because of riots, that is their choice in the future they want for themselves. Concealing information to prevent an electoral outcome does not educate the voter - even if we don't agree with their choices.

5

Prashant Bhushan wrote a devastating open letter to Arvind Kejriwal. For some reason, the media, while publishing "full text" managed to miss some. Parts in blue are missing in several news outlets like Times of India, Economic Times and NDTV - all of whom seem to have made similar omissions - more likely copied from the NDTV website (which has disclosed that they have edited the piece - one wonders why not do an article quoting from it instead of editing a letter by someone else. Sigh. Indian journalism.) without attributing source (In the grand tradition of Indian journalism). Source of this letter's text is "The News Minute"

Dear Arvind:

In the National Council meeting held on the 28th of March, in your Convenor's address, instead of giving a review of the party's situation and the path ahead, you chose to launch an attack on me, Yogendra Ji and my father, making all sorts of false and inflamatory allegations against us. Your speech incited several Delhi MLAs (who were invited despite not being members of the NC) to scream that we were “gaddars” who should be thrown out, and behave in the manner of hooligans. Such was the ferocity of the mob of these MLAs and others as they rushed towards my father, that he felt that he may not get out of this alive.

You did not even allow us to respond to your allegations. Immediately after your speech, in the middle of shouting and screaming by MLAs and others, Manish [Sisodia] read out a resolution for our removal (without any chair, and without anyone allowing him to do so). He then proceeded to call for vote by show of hands without allowing any discussion, forcing us to walk out of what had clearly become a farce.

It was farcical for many reasons: Many members of the NC had not been invited or allowed to attend; more than half the people inside the meeting hall were non-members, which included MLAs, district and state convenors of four states, volunteers and bouncers; there was no orderly conduct of the proceedings for many reasons, including the hooliganism displayed by many people there; no independent videography was allowed, the party's Lokpal was not allowed, etc.

What has happened subsequent to the 28th however, has taken the farce to a level where it seems as if a Stalinist purge is taking place in the party. The party's internal Lokpal, a person of immense stature and independence, has been removed unconstitutionally, merely because he expressed his wish to attend the National Council meeting and was seen to be fair; other members of the National Executive are being suspended, again unconstitutionally, only because they had attended a press conference held by us after the hooliganism in the National Council meeting.

Thereafter, you have ordered the release of a carefully edited version of your speech in the National Council meeting, containing various false charges against us, and carefully editing out the portions showing the hooliganism of the mob. It is in such circumstances that I am having to write this open letter to you.

In order to respond to your charges, I would need to go back a bit to see where my serious differences started with you. If you will remember, my differences started after the Lok Sabha elections, when a series of things happened, which began to show two serious defects in your character and personality. Firstly, you wanted to push through your decisions at any cost in the party, despite the majority of the PAC or the National Executive disagreeing with you. This included decisions that would have undoubtedly been very harmful for the party and against public interest. And secondly, you were willing to use some very highly unethical and even criminal means to achieve your ends.

After the Lok Sabha elections, you felt that the party was finished and could only be revived if it were able to form the government again in Delhi. So immediately after the elections, you started talking to the Congress party for taking its support again to form the government in Delhi. When news of this came out, a large number of important people in the party including Prithvi Reddy, Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania called me up saying this would be disastrous,and if this happens, they would have to quit the party. I was in Shimla at that time, I called you up, and I said that you should not go ahead with this unless there is a proper discussion in the Political Action Committee (PAC).

I immediately came back and we had a meeting of the PAC at your residence. And at that meeting, a majority of the members – 5:4 – felt that we should not go ahead with forming the government with Congress’ support. I had pointed out that this would seem extremely opportunistic, since there was no logical reason for us to change our publicly stated position. I also added that such a government would not last, as the Congress will withdraw support soon, and thereafter, for us to revive the party would become even more difficult.

Instead of abiding by the majority decision, you said that while that may be the majority view, as the Convenor of the party, you have the right to take the final decision, and that you would go ahead with seeking Congress’ support. At that point, I had a verbal argument with you. I said the party can’t be run in this manner, and it has to be run by some democratic means. So it was decided to refer this issue to the National Executive which had many more people. This reference was made by email, and people were expected to vote by next morning. By next morning, again a majority of people opposed this decision in the National Executive and yet, a letter was secretly sent by you to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi saying that he should not dissolve the Assembly for another week because AAP wants to seek the opinion of the people on whether to form the government again.

Immediately after the letter came out, Congress said they were not ready to support AAP and that left us with egg on our face with the result that you had to backtrack the next day and apologize. But despite that, the attempt to form the government with Congress’ support or with the support of breakaway MLAs from the Congress continued, as is clear from the sting tape of Rajesh Garg which shows you were wanting to form the government with the support of those MLAs whom you had yourself accused of having being bought over by the BJP for Rs 4 crore each. How could you even think of forming a government with the support of such people! And this went on till as late as November, just before the dissolution of the Assembly. In November you called Nikhil Dey and asked him to speak to Rahul Gandhi to convince him to get the Congress party to support. But Nikhil told you that he can’t talk to Rahul Gandhi on this issue.

Can you deny any of these facts? All this, showed your willingness to go against majority opinion, break all democratic rules of the party, and seek unethical support of MLAs whom you yourself had accused of being corrupt, all in the pursuit of power at any cost.

Then came the issue of communal posters. A poster accusing the Muslim MLAs of the Congress as being traitors to their religion was got published by Dilip Pandey under your instructions, for which the police arrested Dilip Pandey. At that stage, the party got Amanatullah Khan to send a letter to the police saying that he had got this poster printed, and it was not the party. At the time you yourself tweeted that why is the police arresting Dilip Pandey when they should be arresting Amanatullah Khan. Yet within a week, he was made in charge of the Okhla constituency by the party, promised a ticket and eventually given one! Are such means not unethical?

Then came the issue of AVAM or Aam Aadmi Volunteer Action Manch, which was a group of volunteers who wanted their voices heard in the party. Because this was threatening to brew into a rebellion amongst volunteers who felt that they were being used only like slave labour, and because you felt that it was necessary to crush this, it appears that the party got an SMS sent in the name of AVAM, saying that volunteers should join the BJP – the idea was to suggest that AVAM had become an agent of the BJP, though the SMS was fabricated by the party itself in the name of AVAM. And using this, you announced in a Google Hangout that these people had become traitors because of that SMS. And on that basis, Karan Singh, who was the leader of AVAM, was suspended and removed from the party. He appealed to the national disciplinary committee, which I was heading, and he said ‘I had been saying that this is not sent by me, please have this investigated’. So I asked you and Dilip Pandey and others to get this investigated, but you steadfastly refused.

Eventually, Karan Singh had to lodge an FIR, and the police investigated the matter and it was found that a volunteer of the party, not of AVAM, called Deepak Chaudhary, created this identity in the name of AAVAAM and used that to send that SMS. You should know Arvind, that impersonating an organisation or persons in order to defame them, is a serious criminal offence. Unfortunately young volunteers in the party under your tutelage are being taught that use of such means is OK in politics, since any means used to defeat a “Bigger evil” is OK.

Then came the issue of whether the party should contest Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra. Again the matter was put to the National Executive by email, and the majority – 15 is to 4 – said that that should be left to state units to decide in accordance with our principle of Swaraj. But you did not allow that decision to be implemented. And eventually, it was rendered infructuous, because elections came too close and finally in that National Executive meet in Sangrur it was decided that there’s no point, and one should forget about contesting those elections.

When the Delhi elections were announced and campaigning started, you instructed volunteers to start a campaign “Modi for PM, Kejriwal for CM”. I said this is totally unprincipled. It means that our party has gone down on its knees before Modi at a time when it was positioning itself as the main opposition to Modi.

When the process of candidate selection for the Delhi assembly election of 2015 started, I found there was no transparency. Contrary to earlier practice, we were not posting candidates’ names on the website. Even the PAC, which was meant to approve the candidate, was not being sent the bio-data or names of the candidates in advance to enable us to check the records of the candidates. In the second meeting of the PAC to discuss candidate selection, because I had received complaints about two of the candidates who were being proposed in that meeting, I pointed this out. You got very angry saying, “Why do you think we will be selecting crooked people?” I said that is not the point – we need to have some transparency and due diligence. That led to an argument between you and me, and I walked out of that meeting and wrote an email on November 27, that I cannot be a rubber stamp for non-transparent and questionable selection of candidates. That email is now in the public domain.

After that, in the next list, again there were at least four questionable candidates among the 10 names proposed. Yogendra Yadav and I wrote a letter to the PAC on 10th December, detailing the objections against these four and pointing out that this time, the process of candidate selection was very different from the last time. This time, we were giving tickets to a large number of political entrepreneurs who had joined the party only for opportunism, who had jumped ship from Congress, BJP or Bahujan Samaj Party at the last moment, who had no ideological commitment to our party, had no record of public service, and whose sources of wealth weren’t explained.

Some of them were people against whom our party had itself complained that they were distributing money or liquor or had beaten up our volunteers. One of them (our initial choice from Wazirpur), went back to the BJP within 4 hours of us announcing his candidature. Your initial choice for the Mehrauli seat, Gandas, had to be dropped at the last moment only because his photographs were circulated with him showing off, with a glass of liquor in one hand and a revolver in the other. Yet, while he was dropped, his brother was given the ticket. Eventually, even he had to be changed because our Lokpal, Admiral Ramdas gave a strong report against him.

Thereafter, when we sent that letter, AAP stopped having meetings of the PAC or sending names for the approval of the PAC, and started announcing names on their own. When all this happened, I said “Now enough is enough. If this does not stop, and if there is no credible scrutiny of these candidates, I will have to resign from the party and make public the reasons for my resignation.” On that, an emergency meeting was called at my residence on January 4, by Yogendra Yadav, Prithvi Reddy etc which had 16-17 people from all over the country, important functionaries of the party. All of them felt that the party's campaign would be ruined if I resigned at that stage.

In that meeting I said, “Look, all these kinds of compromises are being made, various ethical corners are being cut and now you are selecting these kind of candidates without proper transparency or scrutiny. If you go with these kinds of candidates, then even if you win, the further compromises that you will have to make, will be such that they will completely destroy the USP of the party, which is of being a clean, transparent party, wedded to alternative politics. And instead of winning by using these kinds of candidates, it would be better to lose the elections by going with clean and honourable candidates”. That statement is being twisted around to claim that I said that I wanted the party to lose.

I had said that rather than winning by these kinds of candidates and means, it’s better to go with honourable candidates and run the risk of a possible loss. Because winning with these kinds of candidates and means destroys the founding principles of the party in the short run, and will destroy the party itself in the long run.

If I had wanted the party to lose the elections, I would have resigned and gone public with my reasons at that very time. If Yogendra Yadav wanted the party to lose, he would not have convened that meeting and stopped me from going public. Instead, he worked his heart out for this campaign, defended the party on innumerable occasions on TV. And yet you have the temerity to accuse even him, along with me, of working for the defeat of the party!

At the end of that meeting, an arrangement was worked out with your express consent, that: We would immediately refer all the complaints against candidates who had been selected to the Lokpal of the party and his decision would be final. And the rest of the issues of institutional reforms about transparency in the party, accountability, swaraj, inner party democracy – those issues will be taken up immediately after the elections. So those complaints against 12 candidates were referred to the Lokpal. In the four days that he had to do this exercise, he recommended the removal of two against whom there was clear evidence, recommended the issuance of warnings against six against whom there was some evidence, and allowed four to continue. Two were thus removed.

But the other issue of institutional reforms, which was agreed to be taken up within two days of the election results, were not discussed. Instead, the National Executive meeting of February 26, which you chose not to attend, started with Vishwas announcing your resignation and a no holds barred attack on Yogendra Yadav and myself by members of your coterie. The message conveyed by them on your behalf was clear: That the price for your continuing as Convenor was our removal from the PAC and NE. I then responded and pointed out the things I have mentioned above, and the issues of institutional reforms, but those were not discussed. The only issue that was discussed that day was whether you should continue as Convenor.

We all agreed that you should continue, but thereafter, some people went to your residence to meet you, and you made it clear that it’s either you or us, and that we have to be removed. And therefore, that is what happened in the next meeting which was held on March 4.

A charge that is made against me is that I did not campaign for the party during this election. I had said that I can’t campaign for many of these candidates, and given the manner in which these candidates had been selected, I was willing to campaign only for those candidates about whom I was fairly certain that they were the kind of people who would take the ideology of clean politics forward and work in public interest if they win. I had in fact given a list of five people that I thought were decent. But the party did not send me any programme for addressing public meetings. I therefore went for Pankaj Pushkar's public meetings who had personally invited me. Gopal Rai is falsely stating that I backed out of his meeting which I had agreed to. In fact, on that day when he called me for his meeting, I was in Calicut where I had addressed a party meeting and a press conference in which I had reiterated that Kiran Bedi was not an appropriate choice for the post of CM.

The other charge made against me is that I stopped people from donating to AAP. When other people asked me whether they should donate etc, I’d said, “Look, you should donate to those candidates who appear to be decent and honest to you.” You and your coterie have made the same charge against my sister Shalini Gupta. She also said the same thing that I had said to a closed circle of friends. In fact she strenuously encouraged the global group to donate to deserving candidates, which is why several candidates got so much funds from NRIs.

In your speech you have given a fanciful and utterly false account of how I was responsible for sending you to jail. The truth is that you had publicly stated that you would “rather go to jail, than give bail”, in the Gadkari defamation case, and when the matter came up for hearing, the judge herself explained to you what the meaning of a 'personal bail bond' was. You asked me if the judge's explanation was accurate, to which I replied in the affirmative. And then you decided that in the interest of your's, and the party's public image, you should refuse to furnish the personal bond and go to jail. My father and I however defended your decision in court and in public, and said that it highlighted an important public issue of the unnecessary requirement of asking for bail/personal bail bonds in such cases. In fact both of us spent several hours to meet you in jail, to explain the options and to persuade you to fill the bond after you had made your point.

Your coterie have also accused my father, my sister and myself of trying to capture the party. Arvind, you know very well that none of us have even wanted any executive positions or tickets for ourselves or any friends or family members. We have only tried to contribute and help in every way that we could to see the party grow into a powerful and credible vehicle for alternative politics in the country. My father, apart from donating more than Rs 2 crores as seed money to the party, has spent an enormous amount of time in giving selfless advice, legal and otherwise to the party. He played a major role in the draft of the Jan Lokpal bill. He worked for the well-being of the party with his “tan, man and dhan”. Yes, when he felt that you, for various reasons were not the right person to lead the party organisation, he frankly told you so. Apart from the reasons of ethical compromises mentioned above, he also saw that you were violating the constitution and rules of the party repeatedly, not allowing any working structure of the party organisation to be created (other than a coterie), and were not interested in formulating the policies of the party.

For two years, the elaborate reports of the 34 policy committees that we had set up, have been gathering dust because you havent found the time or have the inclination to look at those reports and apply your mind to them. You accuse my father of having stated that you were his third choice for CM after Kiran Bedi and Ajay Maken. That was his honest view after seeing all the shorcomings in your character that he had been observing. I had immediately publicly disagreed with his opinion, but in the light of what has transpired subsequently, particularly the stage managed lumpenism that you got unleashed in the NC meeting, I regretfully wonder if he was right.

My sister Shalini Gupta, as well as many other highly qualified persons, left their lucrative jobs abroad to help you build credible and efficient systems which would have proper cells and expertise so that it could function as a world class organisation. On repeated occasions you had yourself asked Shalini to give up her job for the sake of the country and said that her role as Organisation Development Advisor was only an advisory role and not a formal position with any power in the party as discussed in the PAC before she was appointed. However it became clear over time that you did not want any professional advice in this matter. Instead you asked Ashutosh who has no such professional expertise to come up with an alternative plan to make each cell of the party organisation an appendage to your coterie and accountable only to you. My sister worked day and night for the party and mobilized the support of Indians all across the world that contributed so much to the success of the party. One-third of all the donations to the party came from NRIs.

It is true Arvind that I have not contributed as much as you for the party. I have not fasted, nor gone to jail. I have been mostly involved in my various PILs against various scams, 2G, Coalgate, the CBI director, 4G, the Reliance Gas robbery, against GM foods, Nuclear Power Plants, destructive Hydel projects, Section 66A, Tobacco and Gutka, etc. I have spent the rest of my time giving legal and other advice to the party and fighting its cases in court. I have never been interested in any executive posts and I have seen my role in the party mainly as a person who will try and ensure that it remains true to its founding principles. And it is for this reason that I have raised my voice whenever I have found it to be slipping from its path.

It is in this spirit that I have been telling you that you need to have a majority of independent and credible voices in the decision-making bodies of the party particularly the PAC and the NE, and people who have the spine to stand up to you and tell you when you are wrong. And for this, my family and I are being seen as troublemakers who want to destroy the party! Arvind, you must realise that you cannot go very far with a party of just yesmen. The party would certainly be destroyed if you try and do that, but even you cannot go very far with this kind of culture that you are trying to breed in the party.

Arvind, this party was founded with a lot of idealism by thousands of people, especially young people, who came out and spent a lot of their time, effort, energy, money, sweat and blood in order to create a vehicle for alternative politics, in order to create a party that would practice clean and transparent politics. But unfortunately, all those principles are being betrayed by you and your coterie, who are currently in control of the party. And it has become a supremo-oriented, high-command culture kind of party.

After winning the Delhi elections with such a thumping majority, when you have such good fortune, you should be showing your best qualities to the people of this country. But unfortunately, your worst qualities have emerged now. The removal of the Lokpal, us and others who questioned the manner of our removal, reminds one of Stalin's purge of dissenters in the Communist party of Russia. You should read Orwell's Animal Farm to see the parallels between Stalin's Russia and what is happening in our party today. God and history will not forgive what you are doing to the party.

You feel that you can rectify everything by running the Delhi government well in the five years that you have. You think that if you deliver on governance, people will forget what you have done to the party. I wish you well in that endeavour. Even traditional political parties like Congress, BJP have done some governance. But the dream that we started with for clean and principled politics and corruption free governance was much much bigger. The fear that I have, is that after how you have behaved and the character traits that you have showed, this dream of clean and principled politics that the Aam Aadmi Party was founded on may well turn into a nightmare. But still, I wish you well.

Goodbye and good luck,

Prashant

I leave it to the judgment of the reader to figure out how the article was editorially improved by taking out the parts in blue - a couple of which highlight specific wrongs or disinformation from the Kejriwal camp.

4

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.

[tweetthis]Leaders of AAP's Delhi state unit are bringing disgrace to the party with their unfounded and toxic witchhunt.[/tweetthis]

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

[tweetthis]Where did AAP follow its much claimed candidate selection process that Bhushan or Yadav interfered?[/tweetthis]

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.

[tweetthis]The ouster of Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the PAC is brute eviction of dissenting minority.[/tweetthis]

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.

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There seems to be a fringe theory floating around about a larger international conspiracy (CIA etc) influencing Indian politics using the Ford Foundation (among other things). The Great Game India blog (linking to blog because too many interlinked posts to link individually) has been with this train of thought for a few years now. That the RSS creation VIF is manipulating Indian politics and that they started the India Against Corruption movement and so on. They link the Aam Aadmi Party with this larger political conspiracy.

Some of it is verifiably true. The Vivekananda International Foundation was indeed formed in the year after the Vivekananda Kendra got a grant from the Ford Foundation. Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal and others have got grants before the IAC movement and so on.

Some of it is only to be expected and verifiable through sources outside the country for example the US and CIA specifically not being interested in manipulating  a country the size of India makes no sense given their actions world over. There are leaks involving spying. The Great Game India Blog itself has provided considerable evidence of Mossad activity in India based on reports in Indian media including diamond mafia links and raising questions about Israeli role in the 26/11 attacks.

While there are many gaps in the logic that don't allow me to agree with many questions they make, the sheer effort they put into to reference their claims makes it important to at least consider the question with an open mind when they ask "Was AAP victory in Delhi Elections Planned?". The claim being that it was a larger part of a game plan all through to have Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister and Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister.

My views on this are mixed.

Observations that point to the possibility of scripted wins in Lok Sabha Elections for Modi and in Delhi Elections for Arvind Kejriwal

Both these results would not have been possible without the self-destruction of the other just prior to the polls.

It is likely they would still have formed governments, but If the Aam Aadmi Party had not collapsed so thoroughly after discrediting the Congress, the landslide win for Modi would not be possible. The run up to the Lok Sabha Election saw the Aam Aadmi Party pretty much drop everything to find God and criticize Modi.

And the BJP returned the favor for the Delhi Elections. We saw Narendra Modi and Amit Shah go out of their way to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" as a disgusted supporter put it. Would the Aam Aadmi Party have won anyway? Probably, but 67 seats out of 70? Highly unlikely.

Is there any advantage to these sweeping wins in terms of manipulating India? Definitely. Complete lack of opposition leaves one entity controlling what is done without question.

"Kejriwal for CM, Modi for PM" slogan

This slogan is fascinating, because BJP supporters had used it to woo AAP supporters during the Lok Sabha Elections, and AAP supporters almost used it to woo BJP supporters in the Delhi Assembly elections. The Aam Aadmi Party actually put it up on their website before outraged volunteers made them take it down again.

Kiran Bedi as CM candidate

While many paint this as a move to get some credibility to a discredited BJP, it is impossible that those who crafted the IAC had no idea just how absurd and damaging to credibility Kiran Bedi can be. This was a calculated move to demoralize the Delhi BJP leaders. Dr Harshvardhan, who had been a face of credibility was available and unused, so to say, while Satish Upadhyay did not even get a ticket.

BJP's "abandonment" of the Sikhs

Arvind Kejriwal had reopened investigations into the 1984 ant-Sikh riots. The BJP had made vague and unc0nvincing comments. This definitely lost them Sikh votes. Yet yesterday, a day after the results of Delhi election, the BJP government in the Center announced another SIT (Special Investigating Team) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. If this was their intention, it is rather astonishing that they did not do it before the Delhi Elections.

Religious alienation

There seemed to be a checklist of religions to alienate. Muslims were easy, with the "Ramzadon and Haramzadon" stuff. Churches were vandalized. Sikhs were ignored and BJP's most dependable vote bank - Hindus were achieved with absurd dictates to Hindu women to produce 4, 5 or upto 10 children (depending on which idiot you happened to hear). It was almost the exact reverse of BJP's calculated propaganda to target identities to con into supporting.

Why BJP may want to lose Delhi Assembly Elections 2015

There is an article by this name circulating. This article is fascinating, because of several reasons. It outlines a diabolical game plan to make Aam Aadmi Party responsible for its own failure and eventual decimation by making delivering of promises difficult from the Center. The intent being "The media spotlight on Kejriwal government will allow Jaitley to quietly to push through unpopular reforms — disinvestment of PSUs, budget cuts in health, education in his attempt to cut budget deficit." among other things. Do read. A fascinating article. Also probably untrue for the Delhi BJP and supporters at the very least - the Modi cartels in the center apart.

My guess is BJP Delhi is discovering what Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan, Telangana and many others discovered after raising Modi to his lofty Lok Sabha victory. What Vidarbha is discovering after bringing BJP to power in Maharashtra. The goals and agenda of those "driving" the BJP have little to do with those of supporters or even their expectations when they supported.

There are other smaller pieces of information from news reports and more that fit into these patterns. Like information for exposes on Delhi BJP leaders coming from leaders within the BJP itself.

What do I think?

In my view, politics is rarely so black and white with a single agenda playing out. Where there is power, there are grabs. Is there a longer game plan involving the VIF? I believe so. Is Aam Aadmi Party a part of the plan? Not so sure.

The Aam Aadmi Party, in my observation was formed when BJP tried to bottle the IAC genie before it got too inconvenient and expected them to not be corrupt as well. Till then, the IAC had the strong backing of the RSS and BJP. For all its claims of being an apolitical movement and it probably was, in terms of the leadership of the movement, the amount of support on the ground it got from the RSS and BJP cannot be denied. In many places, "IAC" protests were organized by BJP offices, often right outside the office, where most of the speeches made a point of praising the BJP while criticizing UPA corruption.

Was Anna Hazare complicit? Many in the Congress claim so. Particularly after he praised Modi before hastily withdrawing his statements. He may have been influenced by the support rather than doing the influencing.

However, it cannot be denied that there was an abundance of VIF-RSS-BJP support, which eventually led to an ideological clash. Those in the IAC who were not willing to exempt the BJP would have to find other means of going about their agenda, because they could very likely no longer count on the support of the BJP machinery to hold nationwide protests (which took Anna and Kejriwal by surprise initially).

Thus, the Aam Aadmi Party being a VIF-RSS-BJP creation sounds a bit outside the realm of probability. However, it is almost guaranteed that there were people planted in the party right from the start. It is simply how the RSS operates. These people may have been able to influence the actions of the party to a greater or lesser degree or simply attack from within at inopportune times. So AAP actions could have played into a larger game plan UNKNOWINGLY - for example during the aftermath of the Ambani FIR and subsequent resignation of the Arvind Kejriwal government or the Lok Sabha Election.

We saw AAP leaders and volunteers "defect" for no apparent reason. The stated reasons of a lack of internal democracy or whatever the accusations were, were hardly something to have cropped up at specific times - they would be a part of the party culture that they didn't appear to have a problem with till the time to leave - within days of each other. So it looks more than a coincidence. Given the complicit media promoting all and sundry quitters as "ex-AAP leaders" and in one instance calling an "ex-AAP leader" a representative of AAP in a programme that had no one from AAP on the panel, it seems to be organized and given visibility in a time when media was openly called "Modified".

Also, AAP being a US-Israel conspiracy seems a little more improbable, because I cannot recollect offhand the last time these forces empowered "communist" ideology to empower their agendas. It is counterproductive to the US-Israel agenda for people who don't like "imperialists" to get too much voice - which is a sentiment often shared by Aam Aadmi Party supporters - while they are not actively against, they have a perception of being unwilling to bow to imposed interests or disproportionate or unjust appropriation of national resources by big business.

Thirdly, the US-Israel lobby almost always rattles up countries by empowering the right wing. We also see this in action with the occasional comments of right wing leaders that are in agreement with these two countries as well as the larger tendency - for example being fine with attacks on Hindus by the right wing Buddhists in Sri Lanka or on Rohingya Muslims in Burma or even a VIF member meeting the top right wing terrorist influencer in Pakistan and endorsing him on Indian television channels. A lot of the anti-Muslim propaganda arguments and methods used by the Hindutva brigade are extremely similar to Israeli propaganda. Right from selective history to demonize, to organized social media propaganda.

There are no such "behavioral" corelations with the Aam Aadmi Party that I have noticed so far. There is disproportionate weightage to Ford Foundation as funding anti-national interest. While it would hardly be surprising that the CIA uses front organizations or makes opportunistic use of genuine organizations, it is a little extreme to imagine that all its funding is proof of destabilization. The same with the Magsaysay awards. Only a complete idiot would imagine that P. Sainath is somehow working to further US imperial capitalist interest in India given how much time he has devoted to deconstructing such influences.

Of course, it could "all" be astroturfing. But it isn't useful intellectually to believe something that goes contrary to observable dynamics just because it is possible.

This of course does not exclude the possibility of influencing or otherwise manipulating.

Role of Shanti Bhushan

Shanti Bhushan is a respected lawyer and ex politician of BJP and close to Jaitley as well as one of the founders of the Aam Aadmi Party. He made a donation of one crore rupees to the Aam Aadmi Party, but almost every time he has come to attention since then, it has been for damaging the interest of AAP. Just before the Lok Sabha Election, an article "by Shanti Bhushan" was published in India Today, which he claimed to not have written and it was subsequently taken down. Many of the things said in that article continue to be attributed to him in recent interviews, though he denies writing it.

A "breakaway faction" or "collective of ex-supporters" of Aam Aadmi Party, the AVAM, which has made news with absurd allegations against the AAP appear to enjoy his support. More recently, in answer to some questions I asked after a stray remark by an AAP supporter caught my eye, several AAP volunteers shared privately (since they cannot provide proofs and he's a respected and senior member) that he had been in favor of AAP's overreach in contesting in the Lok Sabha polls, which was possibly the single biggest factor in AAP's defeat.

Whether Shanti Bhushan has an ulterior motive or whether he was simply easily influenced by inconvenient narratives is difficult to say and irrelevant at this point, but he does appear to be a consistent source of damage for AAP, including often reported disapproval of Arvind Kejriwal as the leader.

The curious case of Shazia Ilmi

If there is anyone who topped Shanti Bhushan in damage to AAP, it is Shazia Ilmi. The only two "sting" videos to do real damage to AAP credibility involve her. The first appears to show her providing methods to make donations to AAP off the record. The second is where she supposedly asks Muslims to be communal. Whether these were genuine mistakes and she was targeted for stings because she was observed to be careless with words or if she was corrupt or if she was setting AAP up cannot be said. But other common factors seems to be an inopportune exit, affiliation with the "apolitical" AVAM (the RSS is apolitical as well, for a benchmark), new affiliation with the BJP - incidentally a party she leveled outrageous insults at, including personal insults aimed at Modi - some of which even me, an open Modi critic would cringe at.

Binny seems to be more of an opportunist who wanted a way to easy power and got his hopes dashed, who later found enough "appreciation" from BJP. BJP is unlikely to ever give him a cabinet seat either.

All this is water under the bridge. merely stating as an example of how while the AAP as a party may not be "in" on any conspiracy agendas, there is no telling how many people committed to other agendas are embedded inside, who influence or sabotage the actions of the party to suit.

The RSS machine is an expert at subversive strategy and poor at accountability. Sooner or later, disillusionment was inevitable, because there is only so much you can tell people that Acche Din are here, if their lives don't get easier or actually get more expensive. They are smart enough to deploy propaganda at key times and let disillusionment happen in the interim.

So can the Aam Aadmi Party government be trusted?

It would be the height of gullibility to blindly trust ANY political party. Whether the AAP has an ulterior motive or not is irrelevant. It has abundant gaps where more refinement of policy is needed in order for their actions to not harm people's interest. The bottom line always ought to be whether the ACTIONS are helping people or not - regardless of motives or intent.

The AAP has some protection from outright damaging citizen's interests simply because it cannot stand without its volunteer base, and it is impossible to have a conspiracy large enough to include thousands of volunteers and still keep it secret. So even if there are foul agendas at play, implementing them would be an uphill task. That said, it wouldn't be impossible, and only the foolish would believe that all that it takes to receive good governance is casting a vote.

The Aam Aadmi Party government has been entrusted with making Delhi a happier, safer place where all its citizens can thrive. This is a tall order. And if the AAP is honest, spotting mistakes and objecting on time will HELP their objectives. If it is not honest, spotting mistakes on time and objecting may improve chances to prevent them.

Regardless, citizens should not trust governments, but hold them accountable, relentlessly.

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Last night, it emerged that after several shows that may have showed content embarrassing to the BJP, NDTV had gone off air in many places. Several "insider accounts" seem to allude to a picture of NDTV being perceived as showing footage embarrassing to the BJP (watch after 30 minutes).

NDTV coverage of Modi speech different from BJP official feed
NDTV coverage of Modi speech different from BJP official feed

The indication is that cable operators have been asked to block NDTV till the 7th of February - the day when Delhi Assembly Elections happen.

While this information cannot be confirmed, multiple reports of NDTV going off-air have been shared on social media, and a post compiling them was put up on this blog and is being regularly updated.

Another viewer has pointed to a link on the Times Now website where the video of the confrontation between AAP and AVAM last night during Arnab Goswami's News Hour that was extremely embarrassing to AVAM and BJP appears to have been removed.

Yesterday, All India Bakchod took down the videos of their Roast. For those who don't know, a roast is a comedy format based on humorous insults. It is intentionally offensive and insulting and all the participants participate knowing this, and the audience participates expecting this. In other words, consensual. In an ideal world, this should not have required any more attention than the kids under the window going "behen ke *****" as they play cricket. Profanity is common on our streets. It appears to be the idea of being open about it offended people who threatened to file cases. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena threatened to block films of actors participating in the roast - surely a matter of criminal intimidation, given that they have no constitutional authority to do any such thing. In the end, the roast was taken down. The government will now be probing All India Bakchod. Almost seems like the roast continues. AIB is so unsexy that they had to do a roast before anyone would probe them.

On a more serious note, Shireen Dalvi, the editor of Avadhnama's Mumbai edition is being hounded by Muslim organizations with multiple FIRs filed against her. She has been forced to wear the burkha for the first time in her life to protect her identity and has not been able to return to her home for weeks for fear of retaliation for her "crime" of publishing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon on the newspaper. And before we scream and faint about obscenity and racism, it was a cartoon most law abiding Muslims would unhesitatingly appreciate. It showed Prophet Mohammed holding a sign saying "Je Suis Charlie" in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack. In effect, the cartoon said that the massacre was by criminals and what the Prophet Mohammed stood for. Larger Muslim organizations in Mumbai had no problem with this. Stray organizations persecuting her found no resistance from the state.

In a world where Muslims are criticized for not doing enough to combat religious extremists, here was one who stood up tall and spoke up. And the state failed her. She should have got a bravery award. Instead, she is on  the run, her newspaper shut down, 15 employees out of a job and her children living with relatives with this stress hounding their exam preparations. All for doing a job and doing what a newspaper editor should do - stretch the scope of thought for readers.

One would think that we cannot blame the state for this. Oh but we can, because something even more stupid has happened. Two newspaper sellers,Tariq Ahmed Sheikh and Salman Kalam Sheikh were arrested for selling Avadhnama - why? - because they understood Urdu, and "could have refrained from selling it". This is Mumbai Police, JJ Marg police station. Proactive. Acting without even a complaint to act on. Without even a crime being done. What right does anyone have to harp on about the intolerance of Muslims when the establishment itself appears to be complicit in keeping them that way by hounding voices of sanity instead of empowering them?

And oh. The DEN Network block of NDTV has gone unreported by all - including NDTV. A media that can keep quiet while it gets strangled, perhaps deserves to be dead.

These are dark days for Indian media. I hope more independent voices emerge from fearless masses to take up the torch, because slaves of money fear poverty more than imprisonment.