Vinod Kumar Binny has finally had the press conference he has been threatening for a while, and the political dynamics are fascinating in Delhi, at the moment. There had been a storm on the day Arvind Kejriwal announced his cabinet and Binny was not on it. It was hastily managed with some persuasion by Dr. Kumar Viswas and others, only to emerge now.
The flurry of allegations goes back and forth, with Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal accusing him of angling for a Lok Sabha seat, while Binny alleges that it was Kejriwal who convinced him to contest to begin with and he has not demanded any seats. Regardless of the cause, it cannot be denied that Binny's two outbursts happened on the day of selection of the cabinet and last day for filing nominations for Lok Sabha elections respectively.
As the first signs of dissent storm in the Aam Aadmi Party, the party seems to be woefully unprepared as well as defaulting to behaviors they have criticized in others. Here are key allegations made by Vinod Kumar Binny against Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party.
There is a difference in what AAP says and does
I agree. Though I don't see this as a bad thing, in the kind of differences seen. The promises were made in reckless inexperience, and the government watering them down so that most of the intent gets delivered while the rashness is removed is not necessarily against the interest of people. I understand that this will get varied reactions, but I don't think any government can (or should) deliver exactly the manifesto, even if new information during implementation shows the manifesto promises are not in public interest if delivered as is. That an elected minister will choose to put his own party to the test to deliver something to the letter rather than to best potential is a bit.... not in public interest.
Whatever AAP promised is not what they are implementing
This sounds false. AAP indeed seems to be delivering at a fast clip and along lines they had indicated in the election campaign. To hold any party accountabe for a manifesto for 5 years to be delivered in a fortnight is abusrd. Unless Binny has examples where they refused to implement what they promised, or implemented the opposite, a mere delay cannot be the basis for such a conclusion.
The water and power promise of AAP has not really been fulfilled
Agreed. While there have been dramatic and very useful actions on both fronts, some of them as promised (audits, for example), on the whole, the hyperbolic promises of free water and 50% slashed prices have not been implemented in the blanket manner they were promised. I am not certain this is a bad thing.
Referendum to ask people if they feel AAP has fulfilled its promises
Of course it will happen. It is called elections. It will happen at the end of the government's term, because that is how much time AAP has to fulfill its promises. Unless Binny expects people to judge his entire fancy speech based on his first four lines?
The government is not fulfilling the promises we made to the people
This is a bit of glass full and glass empty, because the Aam Aadmi Party has certainly been moving at a rapid clip from day one, and election promises are said to be for what they will do over five years, not fifteen days. That said, Keriwal's promise of passing the Lokpal Bill in fifteen days is doomed to be broken. And I hope it remains broken instead of shoving through some token bill to "prove" honesty.
However, considering that Binny was part of making the promises, and he believes they are not being kept, and Binny seems to think that this is enough time for them to have been delivered, one has to ask Vinod Binny why he did not deliver promises he made, just like each Aam Aadmi Party leader should be asked, when they conclude their process of delivering if promises remain unfulfilled.
Women's commando force promised but not created
I am no expert on how these things happen, but considering that Delhi police is not under Delhi government control, I imagine less than a week for force to be in action is a bit unrealistic of a timeline to expect.
Kejriwal is short tempered. Doesn't like dissent
HUGE WARNING SIGN for Aam Aadmi Party. This has come up about Arvind Kejriwal over and over, right from the days of the Janlokpal Andolan. Gets angry, talks impulsively, doesn't respect dissent. With complete respect to Kejriwal, there needs to be a procedure created so that Kejriwal's disapproval does not kill dissent in party. I imagine this is what Kejriwal would wish as well, that his stressed and knee jerk reactions do not result in damage to party democracy. There has to be a procedure that treats members with equal respect and dismissals are with debate rather than insult.
There is no internal democracy in the party. We can't talk
This is a shocking and serious allegation for a party that claims to give voice to the common man. I am inclined to believe this, in spite of him booed down by AAP supporters only after his first rebellion after not getting a cabinet seat. However, there are abundant other indicators that the processes at the top of the party are as opaque as in other parties. For example the allegations of corruption in Aam Aadmi Party, Tamil Nadu have not seen any acknowledgment or action for several months, over a problem that has existed for almost a year now. Supporter's demands for Aam Aadmi Party to become RTI compliant were repeatedly ignored. The party did eventually appoint a Punlic Information Officer, but the demands themselves went into a blackhole. There was no official reply.
Personally, I can say I have raised this repeatedly, and even wrote to their official email address several times after being advised that I would get a prompt reply through that method. I did not get any reply. Not even an autoresponder saying that the email had been received.
So no idea on whether there is a problem of "We can't talk", but the problem of party simply ignoring what is inconvenient seems fairly big. Possibly bigger than in established parties where if nothing else, you can at least get social media accounts of party leaders to make a statement.
I think as the party grows, dissent will happen. The biggest lesson from this is that the party has no real method of dealing with disagreement within other than "If anyone goes against Kejriwal, they are paid agents of someone" - at least that is what it is looking like from outside. I also realize it is early for a mature process to emerge from a new party, but there are several indications of a personality cult within the supporters of Aam Aadmi Party, which should worry any party leader interested in a robust and democratic internal system.
To me it is looking like Binny should have had enough voice within the party so that he didn't need to use media to say these things. Regardless of whether his allegations prove correct or wrong after reasonable inquiry.