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the following is a mail sent by an AAP Volunteer, whose name is deliberately undisclosed.

Hello All,

AAP Volunteers are running a national calling campaign and talking to NC members.


(1) We decided not to rely on news and learn what the problem is from AAP
(2) We want to learn about the Real Issue at hand
(3)  We want to convey our voice
(4)  #BelieveInParticipatoryDemocracy  and work towards #United AAP

So, in the process we learnt several things. One important thing was that quite a few NC members HAVE NOT received the 28 march NC meeting invitation. While a few e-mail IDs in the EC list of NC members were outdated, there are other IDs that are current and haven't received the invitation. On their request, I am sending out a copy of the "official email" that was sent out.

I request the national secretary to take note and initiate corrective measures. As per AAP's constitution, members are to be notified of NC meeting at least 21 days in advance. I urge all NC members to attend the meeting on 28 March.

Reproduced below is the official email that was sent on March 7, 2015:

Dear National Council Member,
Aam Aadmi Party

Subject: Notice for National Council Meet, Aam Aadmi Party

This is to inform that next National Council meeting will be held on
28th March 2015 in New Delhi. Venue will be intimated at a later date.

Proposed Agenda for the NC Meeting on 28th March, 2015 is as follow:
.  Till 10.30 am Registration
.  Welcome address by National Convener
.  National Secretary’s Report
.  National Treasurer's Report
.  Report on Delhi Elections and Update on Delhi Government
.  Current Organization status / MV
.  Lunch
.  Suggestions by the NC members on Delhi Government and Organization Building
.  Open house on Land Acquisition Bill
.  Any other Agenda by permission of Chair
.  Address by National Convener
.  Vote of Thanks

Pankaj Gupta
National Secretary
Aam Aadmi Party
Delhi, 7th March 2015
NB: The official email copy was received from volunteers


Dear Meritorious Chief Minister,

Congratulations on the sweeping win of Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Assembly elections. As someone cheering the rise of the promise of more inclusive democracy in India, I have been following the story of Aam Aadmi Party since the beginning.

Yesterday should have been a day of celebration. It was not. The reason is your all male cabinet. Worse, for all your claims of listening to the people and being accountable, there has not been so much as a whisper of explanation for excluding women from the seat of power in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party that bragged about the quality of its women candidates is apparently at a loss to find a single one worthy of the cabinet.

In your speeches, you admitted to arrogance of victory in Delhi leading to the defeat in the Lok Sabha Elections. This time after warning followers, your arrogance in Delhi will lead to the defeat of 46% of those who supported you, while you cannot be shaken from your position for the next five years.

Because it is arrogance that decides that you will deliver women safety, yet sees no need to include women in the cabinet. Women are more impacted than men by issues related to water, education, health or inflation, as those tasked with the functioning of the household in limited resources in the vast majority of Indian society. It is women who ferry water the most, make compromises in nutrition to be able to afford food daily, care for the ill and as the ones giving birth to babies and caring in their early years are also a large segment of healthcare consumers in addition to routine health issues common to all. It is women who face greater resistance to ambitions in education. It is women who face catcalls and gangrapes and sexual harassment far more than men.

Being a woman in India is a different view of the world than being a man in India. No matter how sensitive or capable a cabinet minister, I doubt if he will THINK like a woman.  The idea that a woman's thinking does not need to be present at all in the highest decision making body for the state is misogyny. In all your grandeur, you may imagine that men are more efficient and deliver best, but the fact is that many women not from the upper classes cannot speak freely to men. In all your wisdom, you may believe that it is not important for the Minister for women and children - who would be the one meeting victims of brutal rapes once this intoxication with your own yet-to-be proven competence dies down. I doubt a victim sees it the same way. Or is the plan to speak with doctors and male members of the family instead of the women or conveniently use some woman MLA without authority for the purpose?

I don't doubt that a man handling the wellbeing of women and children is a refreshing deviation from the norm, but the need for PR stunts is over. Does a cabinet that cannot even see competence in women in understanding issues of women better than men respectfully handle the difficulties of women? I don't think so.

So far, it seems AAP is happy to use women volunteers to work. Will use a few women candidates to stop looking like cavemen, use their eloquence as spokes people and high profile campaigners but when it comes to nurturing women or recognizing their competence or being willing to share in POWER, AAP so far seems to have come up with a big fat zero.

From seven candidates in the previous election to six in this election. From one woman to none. Your party has consistently claimed to plan to empower women, but in this one year what we see is a deterioration. Not just a failure of Aam Aadmi Party to put up women candidates in any proportion vaguely corresponding to that mythical representation, or decreasing numbers in the tiny number offered.

A woman MLA who joined AAP in its darkest hours, stayed loyal, worked her ass off for the party, including being one of the strong pillars for your own efforts in Varanasi, has experience being on the women's commission, IS a woman herself is apparently not "competent" enough to be on a cabinet where a male lawyer handles the portfolio for women and children. And I am sure the other women candidates have competencies too. You don't get to be a good councillor without being able to handle authority or work. Two of AAP's women MLAs have been councillors. One of AAP's woman MLA's is an ex-cabinet minister in the previous AAP cabinet.

Here is a quote from your party website, since a sub-category of your supporters no longer seem to think I am in Indian interest:

"We believe that until the Women’s Reservation Bill is passed by Parliament, there is a lot that political parties can do to ensure proportional representation for women. "


Here I am, getting organized "blocking" of my handle by your supporters on Twitter, for upholding the views of YOUR party that you seem to have forgotten. Or was that an election Jumla?

There is a Muslim and a dalit in your cabinet and rightly so. I don't imagine this is an accident given that several other favorites are not on the cabinet, so I assume it is okay to take the representation of women for granted, while other kinds of representation are still respected.

Worse, you or your spokesperson don't even think this important enough to address openly and with your much advertised accountability. Not before the cabinet swearing in, not after. It is not like you are unaware when you retweet an absurd tweet by Javed Jafferi about Bandana Kumari being a Deputy Speaker as though that should be enough. What power does a deputy speaker have to govern?

In essence, in your ARROGANCE you are saying that men will deliver women's needs and women are not competent enough to do it. Let alone governing other aspects of the state. This is classic patriarchy and gives rise to the question, "Changing politics, yes, but for better or worse?"

If Hindus ruling a secular state is right wing supremacy, how is men ruling a supposedly gender respecting state anything but MALE SUPREMACY?

I also suggest that when AAP campaigns in the future, bragging about its women candidates, it discloses whether the candidates are good enough to be trusted in the cabinet, or just fillers for your statistics on women representation. This is important, because if your women candidates are not competent, then why should the constituencies you conned into voting for them suffer from their "incompetence" while you protect your government and reputation from it? Hain na?

Think about it. It is the start of your government and you have begun it with a grave wrong to gender equality. This will not go unnoticed. Not by citizens, not by AAP's political opponents. While nothing can force you to give this represenatation to Delhi's women for the next five years if you decide against it, it will be a blow to the Aam Aadmi Party itself in other places too.

A blogger who had great hope in AAP and is now worried about AAP being a problem to women's rights.



Dear Aam Aadmi Party,

Congratulations Aam Aadmi Party on your win in Delhi! And yes, I count your result as a victory regardless of who forms government.

But this, I could have said on Twitter. I wish to caution you on the risks of getting derailed from the carefully determined ethical responses. I can understand the euphoria in the party, particularly coming against odds that were increasingly looking engineered. I understand the anger at the belief that Dharmendra Koli has been accused of harming women by a person who is a suspect in his sister's death. (Background: The sister of the accused candidate was the original and highly popular candidate for the same constituency, who died in a mysterious hit and run accident after being threatened to not enter politics. The ex-MLA making the accusations about her brother was in power then and is a suspect.)

Two weeks ago, AAP was protesting outside Tehelka's office for the arrest of Tarun Tejpal who had been accused of sexual assault as well (yeah, this is my current benchmark for attitude variations on violence against women). This is just an example, but the point is larger. Regardless of whether the accused is guilty or innocent, AAP cannot have one stand for accusations about others, and another for accusations about themselves. Then there remains little difference between BJP ("Everyone does it" or "conspiracy" or "why don't you talk about something else") and AAP ("Let the law take its course" and "we WILL act against our own if we are convinced of wrongdoing").

I do trust the Aam Aadmi Party volunteers any day over Congress politicians with sour grapes - not to mention the bizzarre additional charge, that AAP volunteers threw alcohol bottles in a Valmiki temple - which is the sort of behavior AAP has not shown a single time so far, but there have been various invented "proofs" (read cottage photoshop industry's handmade products) in Social Media trying to attach alcohol to AAP - but it is not to the Aam Aadmi Party's advantage to blur this difference from other parties, because it is that difference that has brought it this far. Masses already have the possibility of a belligerent BJP in permanent denial if they wanted that. Aam Aadmi Party has come to power on a promise of accountability, and the promise must not end with the election campaign.

I am aware that the claims of the people from the ground are different. I am aware that AAP volunteers claim that they were attacked when they passed the Congress ex-MLA's house and the accusations are just a vindictive fabrication after losing the election to those already hated. However, I am pretty certain that the Congress ex-MLA making the complaint will have his people lined up to claim his side of the story as well. In a war of accusations, a party committed to women's rights cannot dismiss an allegation out of hand. There is no need to do a Tehelka and punish your candidate before proof (and indeed that was wrong), but there most certainly is a need to not be seen trying to get the allegations removed using mob power - even if it is non-violent. Innocence in a crime allegation cannot be determined by who could raise more outraged people.

The reports of Aam Aadmi Party gheroing the police station demanding that the complaint be taken back are on the wrong side of law and order EVEN IF THE CANDIDATE IS INNOCENT. If you don't trust the local police station, demand that the investigation be moved to a more neutral authority (what that "neutral" could be is anyone's guess - not many options). I do hope that saner heads prevail and the war is not harmed by a battle. There needs to be a better way of dealing with false allegations, and AAP has dealt with them successfully often enough for me to think that the outrage is that such a thing can happen even after elections.

Well, it can, and it will. Dirty politics is a reality of India. Aam Aadmi Party has to really BELIEVE what it has said often enough. That this is the start of the fight. Dirty politics is not going to get clean just because there is a new kid on the block. There will be attempts to prevent AAP from wielding any real power. Take for example the dramatic loss of Congress in Delhi. A Congress that apparently couldn't even rustle up audiences for Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. A Congress that consistently ignored any serious allegations on BJP once the initial opinion polls showed results. For that matter, see the polls themselves. They showed such dismal prospects for AAP, yet the relentless witch hunt that followed cannot be explained by the predicted failure.

The point here is there will be many things happening. BJP (and Congress too, in my belief) doesn't want a reelection. After attempts to buy off AAP candidates failed, the only thing that really remains is to sabotage enough of them to still be able to form a government, since the Congress and BJP seem disinclined to bring their relationship out of the closet. Oh the relationship exits. They do not do each other any real harm, but for whatever reason, it is okay to be together in the BCCI and okay for BJP's Social Media Army (I know I said mafia on twitter) to suddenly believe in a Congress politician and mobilize their might in making sure his accusations of sexual assault don't die out, but not okay to be together in a political arena, it seems. I suspect the reason is less about appearances of hostility and more about controlling both ruling party and opposition to create a cozy nest.

Regardless of all that, allegations are here to stay. Accusations are here to stay. You know how to deal with them. You have been doing it beautifully so far. Now is not the time to become complacent about success and be taken so unawares by these tactics that you derail and become "Just like BJP and Congress" as the pressure clearly is with recommendations ranging from "support BJP" to "take the support of Congress" or baits like the accusations on Dharmender Koli one to respond "just like BJP or Congress". A reelection is near guaranteed, and this will only be used to "prove" to masses that you are no different, that when the campaign is over, you are "same" and you collaborate with those you campaigned against or you act just like them anyway.

Stay away from all this baiting. Put your versions on record, let the law take its course. If you think he will be trapped, agitate for a more fair investigation. Don't agitate to make the complaint vanish without due process. Stay on track, celebrate, prepare for reelections, fresh avalanche of sabotage, plan strategies (I hear TV experts have graduated from predicting two seats for you to consulting on how you lost seven seats needed for majority - use all that advice), rejuvenate, fund raise, whatever.

Don't fall to the level of BJP and Congress. It would become the best weapon against yourself that you give them. One of your making, that you will find tough to defeat. Ignore them. Plan the next battle.

With love and respect (and a cheer for the amazing election result)!


Update: Dharmender Koli asserted that he was on an open jeep amid 2,000 people as part of victory parade and did not get off jeep and did no such thing as molesting this ex-MLA's wife.

Update2: The ex-MLA now says he isn't sure that it was Koli who outraged his wife's modesty.

Conclusion: It was much ado about nothing. One of many that will happen and AAP really needs to learn to not overreact and do things they can't defend over a problem that vanishes on its own or with basic fact confirming.