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Milan Gupta's formal complaint to the Election Commission against Aam Aadmi Party establishes that the 28th march NC meeting was unconstitutional and asks EC to demand unedited footage from all cameras.

To,

Election Commission of India,

Nirvachan Sadan,

New Delhi -110001

Dear Sir,

This is with reference to Aam Aadmi Party's(AAP) press release dated 28 March 2015 made available by the party's secretariat to the media,the party members, the general public (and the Election Commision of India) through the party's official website link http://www.aamaadmiparty.org/aam-aadmi-party-press-release-28th-march-2015 

Vide the aforesaid press release it has been informed that the National Council of AAP met on 28th March 2015 in which certain decisions and resolutions were taken. A copy of the press release is attached for your convenience, as Annexure 1  (You may cross verify the contents of the attachment with the aforesaid internet link too if you like.)In case, Aam Aadmi Party's secretariat has sent a written communication to Election Commission of India(ECI) with respect to the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015, kindly consider this email with reference to such a communication also. (Kindly request you to upload such a written communication on ECI's website also, in that case).

I am a member of Aam Aadmi Party. Attached with this email in Annexure 2 is my profile summary(with my earlier residential address) that was displayed on Aam Aadmi party's official website.

I bring to your attention that the purported National Council meeting of AAP on 28 March 2015, as informed vide the aforementioned press release, was wholly ultra-vires the constitution of AAP on records of the ECI. The irrefutable evidence of its illegality has been furnished by the party's secretariat itself.

The party's secretariat has claimed vide the aforementioned press release in para 2(a) that out of a total of 392 members of the National Council, 311 attended the meet. I shall demonstrate here that total strength of National Council members is not more than 300, and the figure of 392 members is therefore wholly false, misleading and contemptuous of basic respect of rules and laws.

Article IV- F of AAP constitution registered with ECI governs the composition of the National Council. As per the article, the National Council consists of convenors from all the states and the districts. In addition , it can co-opt upto a maximum of 50 members. It is not a matter of dispute, so far, that the no member has been co-opted into the National Council till date(In case, it is claimed so by the party' secretariat, even that will not explain the super high figure of 392 members in the National Council).

AAP;s constitution, like all the democratic parties' constitution, has clearly written throughout that the convenors at all levels are elected, and not appointed. The Active Members with voting rights as defined in AAP constitution are the foundation of the party who make AAP a bottom-up elected organisation. 

Article IV-D-c(i) and (vi)  specify that the District Convenor shall be elected by District executive, which in turn shall be elected by Active members in that district.

Similarly,  article IV-E-c(i) and (vi) state that the State convenor shall be elected by State executive, which in turn shall be elected by Active members in that state.

Article III-C-vi mentions that the list of Active members shall be frozen one month before the call for any party elections.

However, there are no active members list or any such party elections held anywhere in the party through Active members(except, in National Council members' first meeting on 24 Nov 2012). The evidence of this has been provided by the party's secretariat itself in the edited video recording of the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015.

Pls refer to the video in this link ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efn4QWGk7fA )made public through AAP's official twitter web page ( https://twitter.com/aamaadmiparty/status/582050559978442752 ).

You may prefer to focus on the contents in that video for duration between 34 minutes 5 seconds to 37 minutes 50 seconds in it.

In the video, the National Convenor of AAP, while commenting and admitting on flaws in the internal organisational setup( between 34 minutes 30 seconds and 34 minutes 40 seconds) states as follows "... अभी Active members की list है नहीं .. आपको भी पता है .. हमने कहा committees बनायीं जाएँगी , हर राज्य में committee बनायेंगे , active members की list बनायेंगे, public कर देंगे.."

Further, the National Convenor admits while specifically taking the example of organisation set up in a particular state  that voting withing party is in fact missing in the entire country, not just that particular state. The National Convenor says ( between 37 minutes 24 seconds and 37 minutes 44 seconds)

"..  एक साल में कितनी voting करायी हरियाणा में ? यहाँ पर हरियाणा के साथी भी होंगे ..हाँ भाई कितनी वोटिंग करायी ?...एक वोटिंग हुई हो पूरे.. कुछ लागू तो कर के दिखाओ ..कुछ कर के तो दिखाओ ..हरियाणा में लागू कर दो हम पूरे देश में लागू कर देंगे ..)

The above statements of the National Convenor ,released officially by the party's secretariat too, are a self-providing evidence that active members list is not available, active members have not been identified, and there have been no internal party elections through out the country.

Therefore, no district convenors or state convenors can become part of AAP's National Council since no elections have taken place throughout the country for them, through a duly maintained Active Members list as per AAP's constitution.

The National Council can be composed, therefore, only as per provision in Article IV- F which states as "All those who come together to form the Party and are present in the first meeting of the Party, shall form the first National Council of the Party."

At this point, kindly refer to letter number 4/RTI/32/2015/PPS-II/347 dated 25th February, 2015 sent by Sh Suman Kumar Das, Under Secretary, CPIO, to the undersigned in response to an RTI application filed by me in this regard wherein I had requested to be provided the names, in serial order, of the persons who came together to form the Aam Aadmi Party.

I was informed that document in this regard runs to 957 pages, and I could get the same on payment of Rs 1914/-. I made the payment vide receipt number 20098 dated 09/03/2015 to the ECI, and received the required documents accordingly

The total number of persons, in the records of ECI shared with me as above or otherwise, who came together to form the Aam Aadmi Party does not exceed 300. This is clearly a matter of record with ECI and is verifiable.

Therefore, the National Council members cannot exceed 300 in total as per records available with ECI, the AAP constitution registered with ECI, and the admitted video evidence shared as above.

It is thus demonstrated that the purported National Council consisting of 392 members as informed vide the press release that met on 28 March 2015 was completely ultra-vires the AAP constitution, and the figures quoted by the party secretariat are false, misleading and demeaning to average constitution abiding party members and citizens.

Also ,there are many National Council members on records of ECI  also, who have not been served any notice of expulsion by AAP, but were not allowed to attend the purported National Council meet of 28th March 2015. Such members are also willing to make a written statement to that effect and this has been reported in the media too.

Besides, the aforesaid evidence, there have been much more serious and grave reports of violence, subjugation & coercion having held inside the private and heavily guarded closed venue of the aforementioned purported National Council meet. In fact, the local law and order administration has had to duly register a FIR (Number 143 of 2015 dated 30/0/2015 at P.S. Kapashera) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. A copy of the FIR is attached in this mail as Annexure 3.

Aam Aadmi Party is not only a registered party under section 29A of Representation of People's Act, 1951, it is also a recognised party by the Election Commission of India, under the Election Symbols(Reservation and Allotment) Order , 1968. Under para 16A of the Symbols order, every recognised party is expected to follow lawful directions and instructions of the Commission which it discharges under broad authority of article 324 of Constitution of India.

In exercise of such powers under para 16A of Symbol order, article 324 of Constitution of India, and with view of safeguarding general public interest in maintaining faith in democracy based on certain concessions to recognised parties and with the evidences presented to you I sincerely urge you to kindly

1) Instruct the Aam Aadmi party's National Secretary, Sh Pankaj Gupta, to share the full unedited video recording of the proceedings of the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015 with the Election Commission of India. The unedited video recordings must contain recordings from all cameras present in the venue. No record of Election Commission of India, shall be updated with respect to the National Council meet of 28 March without making the full unedited video recordings available to the Commission.

2) Instruct the SHO, P.S. Kapashera, to share the full collected video evidence against FIR 143 of 2015 with the Election Commission of India.

3) Declare that the the aforementioned press release in Annexure 1 from Aam Aadmi Party's secretariat  or any written communication to Election Commission with regard to the purported National Council meeting of 28 March 2015,as ultra-vires in light of evidence available and made available. 

4) Declare the purported National Council meet of Aam Aadmi Party of 28 March 2015 as ultra vires of the AAP constitution in light of evidence available and made available to the Election Commission.

5) Declare the purported National Council meet of Aam Aadmi Party of 28 March 2015 as ultra vires in light of  sufficient coercion and violence  at the venue.

Thanking you,

With regards,

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.

1

Aam Aadmi Party ferried volunteers by buses to the National Council meeting. These would be the volunteers used for heckling Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Prof. Anand Kumar and others.

[tweetthis]audio: AAP volunteer calls up helpline to ask about buses to ferry volunteers to NC meet[/tweetthis]

Message from volunteer who conducted the sting.

Yesterday I was tipped off by someone that AAP central team was sending "Observers" to MLA offices to talk to volunteers. The real reason was to ORDER MLAs to ensure they all got 1 bus full of people to the NC meeting with AK supportive banners etc.

Today, I was given a message with the HELPLINE number which turned out to be the Wazirpur MLA office number. Listen to the call and make your own conclusions.

So, while I don't support either of the crazed camps in this suicidal game being played with the HOPE of millions of Indians and lakhs of AAP volunteers I am also not happy that now AAP leaders are resorting to UNDERHAND tactics and using the same old methods of the very politics we came to change.

This is my intention behind doing this recording.

While media predicts doom and gloom with barely concealed "I told you so"s and Aam Aadmi Party volunteers wring their hands and wonder what fate lies in store for the party, I have seen the emergence of two letters between Manish Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav as an extremely positive sign about the party. The advent of digital communication may have added convenience, but a downside is that this is one era from which personal communications of leaders providing an insight into their vision are missing. Candid discussion and reflections on issues crucial to organizations and countries now happen out of sight.

In my view, these two letters speak of the Aam Aadmi Party's resilience and ability to return to its core values. In a time when lack of communication and invisibility of any leader other than Kejriwal speaking independently on issues of policy plague the Aam Aadmi Party, these letters come like a breath of fresh air. While transparent dialogue, warts and all between leaders may alarm those grown comfortably "unique" in the opaque mold of India's cult like politics, these letters stand witness that there is more to AAP than Arvind Kejriwal alone and there is a diversity of leadership that does not fear to speak their highest truths in view of the Party's interest.

Letter by Manish Sisodia to Yogendra Yadav.

Respected Yogendra Bhai!

Over the last 15 days, an ugly spat has developed between you and Naveen Jai Hind. The unfortunate part is that the two of you have been fighting your personal battles in public and through media forums. This is continuously damaging the party. What is even more unfortunate and sad is that you wanted disciplinary action taken against Naveen Jai Hind, and when you did could not have your way, you dragged Arvind (Kejriwal) into the fight.

You have alleged that Arvind does not listen to the advice of the PAC. It is surprising to read this allegation in your email because Arvind has always supported you. Indeed, so long he was listening to you, you were full of praise for him. For example, your decision to contest from Gurgaon was opposed by many members of PAC. But Arvind not only supported you, he got everybody on board on your candidature. Arvind was democratic then. Even before that, when you wanted to be in-charge of Haryana and the party's chief ministerial candidate, several PAC members opposed it. Even then, Arvind had supported you, and in your eyes Arvind was democratic.

Now that the party has reached the stage it has, the party workers are talking about the fight between you and Naveen Jai Hind. Even two days before you resigned from the PAC, a fight broke out between you and Jai Hind in front of party workers. You want Arvind to take strong action against Naveen Jai Hind, but the fact that he is not supporting you on this, has made him dictatorial (supremo) in your eyes.

After the fall of the Delhi government, a survey done on your instructions projected that the party would get 23% votes in Haryana. However, six weeks after that, the party got mere 3% votes under your leadership. The reasons for this have to be analyzed. Now that the PAC and party workers want an answer to why did this slide take place, you are trying to divert the issue by labelling Arvind as dictatorial.

Arvind was strictly against AAP contesting elections across the country. He wanted the party to concentrate on Delhi for a few years. However, you and some other members favoured contesting elections all over the country. The result is in front of us.

Naveen Jai Hind is an old and trusted colleague. Like you, he too has braved police lathis during agitations. The poor results of Haryana and the fight between you and Naveen need to be addressed and analyzed urgently. However, by resigning through an email which went public, and now again by writing public emails, you are trying to skirt the issue and drag Arvind into the controversy.

Yogendra Bhai, politics of truth means winning the hearts of the people and respect of the party workers. Your behaviour in the last 15 days has left me deeply saddened. You are wise enough to understand this. Unfortunately, instead of coming to party meetings, you are busy with politics of letter-writing. I don't understand what you want to prove with these emails. Do you want to finish off the party? Do you want to win your personal battle with Naveen or do you want to finish off Arvind?

Yours truly, Manish Sisodia

Yogesh Yadav's response to Manish Sisodia's letter

Dear colleagues,

I write to follow up on my email of 31st May resigning from the PAC. I had sent my letter by email but was requested by the entire PAC to come and explain the reasons for my resignation. The PAC gave me a very patient and courteous hearing. I wanted this to remain within the organization and refused to speak to the media. As a result there was some confusion about my decision. Some reported that I had resigned from the party, some linked my decision to other trivial matters. Many friends have been calling me up for clarification. So I thought I should at least spell out the main issues that led to my resignation. This might also help our discussions in the proposed meeting of the NE, now confirmed for 6-8 June.

The heart of the matter is the decision making process within our party. Our party stands for swaraj, for bottom-up, participatory decision making. We do so because we believe that remote decision making by a few powerful people is bad, even if the decision makers are well-intentioned. We seem to have forgotten that basic idea when it comes to decision making within our own party.

Some of us have been raising this point in various party fora and trying in our own small ways to expand the scope for consultative decision making. Like many of you, I had hoped that we would get a chance for discussion and course correction after the Lok Sabha elections. But the course of events in the last fortnight, following the election verdict, took me aback. It seemed that instead of introspection and course correction, we had started moving in the opposite direction. We got distracted from the real challenge and appeared to be diverting public attention. To my mind, we had not lost the election, but we did start losing something more valuable, our sense of direction and rectitude, after the elections. Colleagues, supporters and well-wishers of the party were worried about these developments and wanted us to introspect. My resignation was above all an attempt to invite my colleagues in the national leadership of the party to face the election outcome and to begin collective introspection.

II

Let me list here some key issues that the Party needs to focus on without any delay:

1. Absence of mechanism for consulting volunteers

This party grew out of an extraordinary coming together of volunteers from all over the country, most of whom had no previous experience of politics. Some of these volunteers like us came to be recognised as "leaders". It was imperative that our party should have as little gap between the "leaders" and the "led", that we evolve mechanisms for consulting our own volunteers and supporters in all the key decisions. So far there is no such mechanism and there is little movement in that direction. This was tried in a limited way during candidate selection in Delhi, but was abandoned too easily. We must find a new mechanism for listening and responding to the voice of our volunteers.

2. All powerful PAC and neglect of NE

Concentration of power in the hands of the PAC was never visualised in our constitution. The National Executive was meant to be the real executive body, with PAC taking some quick decisions in between two meetings of the NE. But right from the beginning, we could not keep to the then constitutional requirement of NE meeting/teleconference every fortnight. You would recall that we did weekly teleconference for some time but as Delhi elections approached that practice was dispensed with and never resumed. The concentration of powers in the hands of PAC meant that the inputs in the decision making were confined to a few persons who were themselves unrepresentative in terms of gender, region and social groups and perhaps limited in their wisdom. I had raised the issue of reconstitution of the PAC in the last two meetings of the NE but it had to be shelved due to the Lok Sabha elections. The supremacy of the NE must be restored and the PAC reconstituted.

3. Lack of proper functioning within the PAC

The PAC itself has not functioned in the true spirit of collective decision-making. The PAC meets regularly and extensive consultations take place. But there is no agenda or minutes of most of the PAC meetings leading to serious and avoidable confusion about what was decided; those who are neither members nor invitees attend and participate in PAC meetings; it has been insisted that invitees have the same power, including voting powers, as the elected members; and, it has been asserted that the PAC is no more than an advisory body whose majority opinion is not binding on the National Convener. Given this assumption, it is hardly surprising that the PAC was bypassed or overruled in many key decisions of the Party with far reaching consequences. This situation must be rectified and some minimum procedures must be laid down for PAC meetings.

4. Inadequate attention to issues of the states

The relationship between central leadership and the states leaves much to desired. The national leadership has not been able to focus its attention beyond some areas, leaving much of the organization in a state of chaos. There is no clear chain of command and the state leadership is often confused about how to get in touch with the centre and take crucial decisions. Central leadership is not in touch with colleagues who regularly deal with states on their behalf. As and when the centre intervenes, it exhibits "high command" culture prevalent in other organisations. Occasional intervention by the centre are seen to be ill-equipped in terms of their knowledge, aptitude and experience to handle the complex issues of the state units. Unless this is resolved, we cannot go ahead with organisation building at the state level.

5. Neglect of organization building

The crying need of the hour is organisation building, but there seems to be little appetite and preparation to plan and execute this painstaking work at the grassroots level. The PAC did not find time to discuss organisational blueprints. Volunteers and indeed leaders at the local level have no idea of how to go ahead with organisation building. Grievance redressal, conflict resolution and disciplinary action is largely left unattended. Organisational work is often delegated to colleagues who have little experience, aptitude or temperament for this work. Bottom-up organisation building must be our top priority now.

6. Policy deficit

For a party that has no dearth of policy analysts among its members and sympathisers, our party has a serious deficit in its policy thinking. We made some quick moves soon after the party was formed: we had a brief vision statement that went beyond anti corruption and Lokpal. Arvind bhai's book Swaraj was a great help in extending our thinking, but it could not substitute for policy thinking in various domains. Sadly, the Prty did not move beyond these early attempts. The party appointed 31 committees that produced reports. These reports were consolidated into a short framework for policy document, but this document never saw the light of the day. Ever since January last year, the party leadership has had no time for discussing the policy of the party. There has been no attempt to involve volunteers into thinking about our policy position on key issues for the party. As a result, our immediate response to an issue becomes our policy. We cannot postpone preparing a comprehensive policy document any more if we wish to be taken seriously as a party of governance.

7. Leader or supremo?

There is a widespread perception among the workers and sympathisers as well as external observers that the party is falling prey to the disease of personality cult that afflicts all the political parties in the country. There is no one who doubts that Arvind bhai is the undisputed leader within the Party. He has richly earned this stature and we would not be where we are without his leadership. But there is a difference between a Leader and a Supremo. Love and affection for a leader often turns into a personality cult that can damage an organization and the leader himself. This is what appears to be happening to our Party. Major decisions of the party appear to, and indeed do, reflect the wishes of one person; when he changes his mind, the Party changes its course of action; proximity to the Leader comes to substitute for organizational roles and responsibilities. Since all the decisions and successes are credited to one person, all the blame also begins to accumulate at the doors of one person. Let me reiterate that Arvind bhai is no ordinary leader and there are no two opinions about his continuing as the National Convener; nor have I ever doubted his status as first among equals within the party's leadership. The real question is whether there are limits to personal discretion of the leader.

III

These are the issues that have been worrying me, and I am sure many of you, for quite some time. I am not saying that I am free from the responsibility that the entire national leadership must accept for these deficits. In any case, I do not mention these for fixing responsibility. I do so to state the agenda for moving forward. I was waiting for the National Executive meeting for a free and frank discussion on these issues. But developments since the election verdict kept making matters worse and it appeared that the space for such a discussion was rapidly shrinking. Immediately after the verdict, instead of reflecting on the verdict and charting our way forward, we got into misadventures that highlighted and further accentuated the problems in decision making.

Worse, there were attempts to divert all the blame to PAC and NE. Demands were raised for dissolving the PAC and the NE; its members were presented as power brokers who were unwilling to give up their positions. These expressions were not confined to a few volunteers. It was seriously suggested within a PAC meeting that all the members of PAC and NE should hand over their resignations to the National Convener, giving him or a 'search committee' presided by him a free hand to reconstitute these bodies. All this reminded me of what happens in parties like the Congress and the BSP. Serious aspersions were cast on NE members and there was a proposal to go straight to the National Council in order to reconstitute the NE. I waited for Arvind bhai to come out from Jail and put an end to this chorus. Instead, in his first meeting with volunteers, Arvind bhai himself endorsed the anti-PAC sentiment, which amounted to an open expression of no confidence in his colleagues.

This is when I decided to resign from the PAC, and also offered to step down from my responsibilities as spokesperson and in charge of Haryana. I did not want to do this, for any news about 'resignation' of any leader at this juncture lowers the moral of our volunteers. My sincere apologies if this resignation has hurt any of you. But this was a desperate attempt to stop what I saw as a rapid slide with disastrous consequences; having failed to convince my colleagues to attend to the challenge of party building, I had no option but to jolt them into some introspection. Needless to say, I did not go to the media (even when systematic disinformation was being spread, linking my resignation to developments within Haryana), for I did not wish to cause any embarrassment to the party. As I said above, the PAC colleagues were kind enough to listen to me on these issues which have not been discussed in the PAC for a long time. I am also happy that the NE meeting is finally happening with a clear agenda and a defined list of invitees. But my resignation would be futile if it did not lead to substantive discussion in this NE meeting on the issues listed above.

Friends, let me conclude this long letter by reiterating that ours is a party with a future, a party of the futre. The election outcome may not have been as spectacular as the Delhi elections may have led us to believe, but it was neverthless a successful debut by an 18 month old party. We have achieved breakthrough in a second state, won more seats than the BJP or the BSP did in their debut elections, secured more than 1.1 crore votes and created a much bigger pool of goodwill, involved more than one lakh active volunteers in the campaign and successfully raised issues that other parties were unwilling to speak about. In the coming five years, we may be a small voice within the parliament, but we could be the principal political opposition in the country. The forthcoming meeting of the NE could be a turning point in this journey. Once we have a clear roadmap for future, attend to some of the issues mentioned above and get on with the painstaking task of organisation building, sky is the limit to what Aam Aadami Party can achieve in the country. We have created hope in our country's politics, now we cannot fail the country. Looking forward to meeting all of you,​
Yours,

Yogendra Yadav

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Neither of these letters are easy to write and neither of these provide answers. What they do is more precious. They provide questions worth asking so that the whole organization may seek answers.

In my view, this is a very good thing, and I do hope that AAP leaders make habits of writing open letters to each other when issues of dissent or direction or important decisions arise, so that their thinking may provide the party with greater involvement and an opportunity to contribute when they see what the potential is.

Is that not what the dream was in picking up the broom?