What is really going on with AAP?

By | March 11, 2015

This post comes on request that I stop criticizing and make useful suggestions. So here it is. I don’t think it will help though, which is why I didn’t do it to begin with.

First and most important thing to understand is that this devastation of AAP is a result of a series of deliberate choices powered by intent. Till intent changes, in my view, this cannot be recovered from.

A bird’s eye view of the conflict within AAP

The basic issue is a difference of opinion. Where you have people you have views and they may coexist with some views and not with others. A piece in Swarajya titled “Yadav and Bhushan shouldn’t be complaining” outlines a difference of opinion that has been present in AAP all through and sees it essentially as a socialist versus libertarian thinking issue though it does not put it in so many words. For purposes of this piece, I’m calling the two sides pragmatic and intellectual. This was further confirmed with a phone conversations with leaders trying to convince me that the disastrous decision of the 4th was a necessary step and good for AAP. I am not that gullible, but the recurrence of specific names and the tag “socialist” was very insightful. It was equally evident that those who held these views, did not adequately appreciate the “socialist” side of the story.

The perception was that “these people” did not work, prefered to be impractical rather than find solutions, intellectualized too much, criticized AAP, and wanted to replace Kejriwal as the National Convenor. Apparently working for AAP is suddenly only campaigning on the ground and Yogendra Yadav’s formidable studio presence is called twiddling thumbs.

What no one apparently recognizes is that it is precisely these socialists that had allowed AAP to look friendly to social rights movements around the country in the run up to the Lok Sabha Elections. It is these views that have attracted idealists to the party fold for the “pragmatic” people to harness with their rough and ready effectiveness. While it is true that the “pragmatic” side of AAP has worked very hard for the Delhi Election win, they have failed to appreciate what this intellectual side brought them. It brought with it a rigor of looking at issues in terms of process. Of articulating complex ideas in a coherent manner. Of bringing dignity to the reputation the “pragmatic” side was rapidly gaining for reckless accusations. Yogendra Yadav in particular was spectacular at presenting the often chaotic AAP view in a refined manner on the fly. It brought AAP legitimacy as people who also have sound thinking – beyond mere good intentions.

This is not to say that there was no arrogance or behavior perceived as hostile. Intellectuals are often superior about their quality of understanding of issues (and I am not doubting that quality at all) and can tend to be dismissive of views they do not see as adequately refined. For example, ground up Swaraj is exactly that. Without it, there is no democracy. It must be done and while not done, we are false to our claims – to the point of not deserving a victory based on them? It is simply a trait – and an asset to a party like AAP, till someone goes and makes a big problem by pitting against it it, because the logic is likely to be unassailable – as we still see playing out in their calm statements to media. On the other hand, it is nice when intellectuals are adult enough to know that they can be difficult and to compensate.

For a while, AAP thrived from the diversity. The communication skills of the likes of Khetan did brilliantly with actions like the Delhi Dialogue, the exuberance of volunteers worked for the flash mobs or whatever, while Yadav and others created a formidable credibility by coherently articulating emotional zeal on a day to day basis. There was a lot of work done, and people fit well into their roles and did it. And it is because all did their best that AAP did its best. To own credit and treat those you dislike as deadweight will destroy unity.

The trouble with the differences in AAP

While the pragmatic side of the leadership was on a clear goal of doing whatever it took to get a victory in Delhi as an issue of the party’s survival itself, the”socialists” were insistent on clear process. This was a divergence of method. Sticklers for the method could not tolerate cutting corners while those who had set their sights on the win were uncaring of the compromises they may have to take to make it happen – they may have believed it as a temporary deal with the devil, so to say, in order to achieve a larger goal.

This issue appears to be more with Prashant Bhushan than Yogendra Yadav. He is believed to have threatened press conferences leading to some difficult ego management in a party stressed about getting the win to happen.

While it takes two hands to clap, the clarity of ideas allowed Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan to uphold their side of the issue in a relatively dignified manner. If they were in a rivalry, it was specific and refined and on a relatively narrow band and completely invisible outside the party. Even their interviews after being removed only add dignity to AAP’s values, while those opposed to them are increasingly sounding demented.

Methods of rivalry

Whether it is genuine good innocence and intentions or whether it is skill and cunning, whatever the rivalry the intellectuals had with the pragmatics, they managed to keep it low key. Press conferences may have been threatened, but they never happened. Yogendra Yadav was on Prime Time TV daily and never spoke or acted in a manner that showed AAP in a bad light. If either of them wanted to harm the party – with the access, visibility and stature they had, they would succeed without doubt. So whatever their ill intent that was raising the hackles of others, it did not harm the party, but strengthened it.

On the other hand, those acting against them have acted in poor spirit. Manish Sisodia’s letter and Yogendra Yadav’s reply to it is when this first spilled into the public domain. It is impossible to determine who leaked them and futile to make accusations without basis. If you read the letters, it is evident that Manish Sisodia made a personal attack on Yogendra Yadav alone for a dispute between two people. The letter was hostile, superior and showed Sisodia in  poor light. It being leaked added to the damage, but even known to very few people, it would still show Sisodia acting to create hostility within the organization.

Words we have are a sort of wardrobe. You wear silk to a date, jeans on a picnic and you need to know when and how to dress. Sisodia had not bothered. Either he was unable to, or he did not think Yogendra Yadav merited civility, quite forgeting that in the process he was also addressing a senior member of the party he professes to be committed to. Yogendra Yadav’s reply only drove the point home by not responding to provocation and instead taking a thoughtful and introspective tone way more appropriate to the situation AAP was in after the Lok Sabha defeat than what Sisodia was using. He completely refused to be drawn into the personal mud slinging – which in turn allowed the letters to look like open communication between leaders worthy of respect rather than a catfight, which is what Sisodia had started.

If AAP volunteers found Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav difficult as it is now being implied, they showed greater maturity than the leadership by never letting it spill on the party’s image. If they didn’t, well that would just make it yet another unsubstantiated allegation in a fast growing pile. The letter by Admiral Ramdas leaked, but the tone of both was clearly enriching for the party and neither raised any serious alarm that would harm the image of AAP.

The really unforgivable thing happened on the first of March. There was abrupt dismissal of social media admins. Thus the first casualty of this war on Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were actually bystander loyal role holders of Aam Aadmi Party who have no complaints against them and a lot of selfless service to their credit. The pragmatics just turned them into nobodys without explanation or gratitude. There is still no explanation provided for why their permissions were revoked without warning as though dismissing unimportant people.

Then came the organized slander campaign against Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav that was based on a series of allegations with zero evidence. Perhaps without the attack on loyal and completely innocent workers handling social media, there would be some basis to inclination to take unsubstantiated accusations against Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav as unavoidably urgent or necessary. But the completely unfair and disrespectful treatment of the admins to effect the hijack, combined with the unethical, inappropriate and immensely damaging use of the official handle to slander founders of the party cooked the goose of the pragmatics well before the meeting.

You cannot expect those who invest blood sweat and tears into creating anything to feel charitable about those destroying it. And that is exactly what is playing out. AAP volunteers are organizing against leaders they were devoted to with a ruthlessness that is as breathtaking as it is admirable. They are fighting for their beautiful creation to survive.

Another ethical (and legal) boundary that had been crossed with a “sting” operation of the journalist who published the story fell flat. Other journalists present with her had not filed stories with the damning data and one also denied that it was provided by Yogendra Yadav. On the other hand, many volunteers pointed out that the phone call itself appeared to be rehearsed. The sting that was used to base the only allegation against Yogendra Yadav not just fell flat, it exposed AAP for using illegal methods to monitor leaders and media. The venom that was now openly flooding against Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan has been revolting to even stray onlookers, let alone those who gave money and time to AAP and were now watching in dismay.

The opaque National Executive meeting that provided a result AAP volunteers explicitly didn’t want still did not warn the arrogant people trying to manipulate reality to their will. But by now the volunteers were beyond hope and pleas. They were furious. They organized rapidly, demanding answers. Anjali Damania’s accusations against Yogendra Yadav wanting to contest Haryana were countered with links to news reports of her announcing that AAP would contest in Maharashtra after Kejriwal refused. Campaigns demanding answers were organized. Other volunteers monitored the volunteer mood about the decision and more.

The leaders caught on the wrong foot had already had to retract slanderous tweets, but had no response to questions about procedure as well as questions raised by Prashant Bhushan about party democracy. They chose to keep repeating slander as though that was why volunteers were angry and the thing escalated to the point of people speaking the inside story exposing the leaders and how hey were acting against the interest of AAP.

AAP volunteer sentiment analysis

AAP volunteer sentiment analysis

When those still unwilling to open their eyes and smell the roses alleged that BJP was manipulating the results with bogus voting, volunteers started yet another survey of registered donors – since AAP has not released a list of volunteers, donation data is the only way they have of identifying genuine supporters.

Attacking Prashant Bhushan for Shanti Bhushan’s actions was not appreciated, a planted story showing Shalini Gupta acting against party interest boomeranged when NRI volunteers denied getting it and then those who had got it releasing the Original email trail regarding accusations against Shalini Gupta which was not at all as offensive as the selected excerpts planted.Volunteers trying to hold AAP together being called fake was an outright slap in their faces. These were people who had spent time online, on the ground, working media, donating, making calls….. treated like the enemy.

The Delhi AAP handle was used to issue a press release with more slander against Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav and volunteers exploded. That Press Release has hundreds of critical comments verging from polite and disappointed to furious. If anyone liked that release, it is tough to notice in the river of rage in the comments.

It is a difficult place to recover from, even if possible. The arrogance is so profound and the damage it has done so vast that it is difficult to say that AAP can continue united – or even that it should, given the lack of ability to coexist.

What could be a way forward?

A good organizational development consultant could help resolve conflicts and coach basic skills for engaging respectfully with diversity. This cannot be recommended enough if AAP wants to recover. The consultant should NOT be an AAP volunteer/member but a real, independent one who is not stuck lower in the hierarchy from those s/he facilitates.

Dissolving the PAC and forming it afresh can bring some sense of justice. It is also democratically inappropriate to legitimize what is left standing and reinstating Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav will cause resumption of hostility triggers among those who kicked them out.

Lifting of all gags and guaranteeing that stating opinions will not bring retaliation. This is the leading fear among the dissenting volunteers.

Investigating and removing from authority EVERYONE who demonstrably acted against party interest – including people who hijacked the rights of others as well as Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav – though volunteers have pretty much shredded the allegations by now.

Norms must be created by means of which no people can have the authority to act against their equals unilaterally – that implies some being more equal than others. This means that conflict between leaders must be resolved through the Lokpal or by appealing to Kejriwal or referendum with volunteers, and not some leaders acting against those they want to target. Whether they take a vote or read tea leaves is immaterial. Disputes must not be solved by targeting one side – this is what has brought AAP to this point.

Prosecuting various illegal and unethical actions – illegal phone recording, planting stories in media, putting up communal posters… with the Lokpal and legal cases.

APOLOGIZING to dissenting volunteers – democracy really wasn’t a terrible thing to ask for given AAP’s ad campaigns.

Instituting organizational structures as promised, including methods to take feedback from volunteers. Is it not ironic that the party that claims Swaraj not just had no mechanism for volunteers to register dissent, but when they self organized and formed their own platform, they got disowned! Also things like putting up lists of volunteers, minutes of meetings, accounts and more. I imagine much healing can happen if volunteers are apologized to and invited to help bring AAP on track by creating these things.

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There. I have written the post. But I think volunteers underestimate the AHANKAR of those controlling the party right now. Apologies are not going to happen. Accountability and punishment for slander is not going to happen. I have no idea how this post will help you, but I have promised support out of respect, so here it is.

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20 thoughts on “What is really going on with AAP?

  1. Haarouking Fx

    The entire election success was a result of the tireless campaign and the results of the efforts put in by the Volunteers. It is time for the party to give back to its greatest contributors who contributed their time. Although ideologically I endorse different views from the AAP only wish ruling parties like the BJP and Congress can draw such selfless crowds of educated rational volunteers who are long term assets that will enable any party to stay in power.

    Reply
  2. Danish

    Thanks Vidyut, I have been thoroughly confused with what has been going on within AAP, it defied logic. However, I won’t give you entire credit, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan’s letter to volunteers clarified a few things too. Being hopelessly optimistic (or may be just hopeless who finds some hope in AAP 😛 ) I think the less politically mature folks got really unnerved with the insistence of YY and PB to stick to principles even at the cost of compromising with winnability. Having come so close to power, it must have rattled them, after all, they may be experts in their fields, social activists but nowhere close to having observed power play as PB has or understand politics (politics is not all about elections) as Yogendra Yadav does. Yet, they knew they were winning and hard-hitting statements by PB might have instilled insecurity in them. Perhaps they thought they should first win election and prove to the people that their AAP model of governance can deliver and they wouldn’t be deviating from founding principles much. After all, Arvind did resign in 49 days in accordance to principles and then had to apologize for it.

    This difference in opinion was reconcilable but fresh demands by YY and PB on future course, just after the massive win in Delhi probably convinced their opponents of ill-motive so much that they started a slur campaign against them from official social media accounts which they never did against opponent parties during election. You call them pragmatic, I call them immature because they may have won Delhi through hard work and people-friendly strategy, they lost support of majority of volunteers by not just expelling these two from PAC but because of the manner they did and the slander campaign on social media. Another mistake AAP leaders made was the presumption that now that they have won Delhi, despite PB,YY’s warnings , they no longer need them. Or they don’t need to move beyond Delhi.

    Arvind is absolutely right that he should focus next 5 years in fulfilling promises he made to people of Delhi but he cannot bring about systemic change while confining himself to Delhi NCR ! And that would require people like YY and PB. Further, this cannot be deferred, the momentum the party (united) still has would be difficult to repeat in future. He gave a hope to a vast body of Indian volunteers spread across the world , that of a clean, non-divisive political alternative to the country, after returning from treatment he might as well work out an alternative to this impasse, too many people have invested too much of time,money and hope into this to let it go waste.

    Reply
    1. raman

      @Danish
      I think you are sweeping all the shit under the carpet… the issue is not based on personalities…

      “Arvind is absolutely right that he should focus next 5 years in fulfilling promises he made to people of Delhi but he cannot bring about systemic change while confining…”
      From my perspective sitting in punjab, this statement is a complete bullshit. I mean it is sort of borderline criminal bullshit.
      First of all, punjab gave 4 MPs to AAP, guess how many MPs Delhi gave? 0. Rest of India? 0.
      And then who decides if they want to contest in MC elections of punjab? The hypocrite who talks of swaraj but has zero intention of following it. And what happens after AAP decides not to contest? SAD-BJP still get few seats, only independents who were known “well-wishers” of AAP won most of the seats.
      And where is the volunteers say in it?
      And why is the delhi team having more influence in decision making in national affairs? Why did that sisodia guy “consult” three guys from delhi to decide on YY and PB’s fate?
      I mean, forget based on principles, it is not even logical to do this. It is plain stupid. And the volunteers get thenga.
      Its not a small issue or a matter of a mistakes – it is about constant and consistent actions with bad intentions.

      I know above part look like regionalism, but I am talking about decentralization which we were promised.

      In a similar way, there are much bigger stories behind these groupies and chamchas of AK disintegrating every founding principle.

      Reply
      1. Danish

        @Raman
        “I think you are sweeping all the shit under the carpet… the issue is not based on personalities…”
        For YY, PB it wasn’t based on personalities but AAP officially blamed them and Shanti Bhushan for working to defeat AAP in Delhi. They accused the trio of throwing around their weight – asking volunteers from other states not to campaign, not donate, plant stories in media. All of these implied the trio were using their “authority” . I don’t believe that but think that’s how some less mature leaders perceived it. So I never implied clash of personalities but one side alleging it, erroneously.
        I am still reluctant to accept that AK and his close associates have turned opportunists, rather going paranoid since its difficult to see how YY,PB could have replaced AK. Yogendra Yadav has all along been respectful towards those who sacked him from PAC because he doesn’t want the movement to fizzle out, why should I throw muck at them and undo his efforts. The kind of argument being put forward by Mayank Gandhi is what is required. Even Vidyut’s opinion here is constructive criticism with no ad hominem attack. Given the kind of politics we are witnessing now, AAP is too important to let it self-destruct.

        I may be in agreement with you on decentralization ( don’t know about Punjab), in fact you might want to check out my post on “bazaar of politics” model http://xpensieve.blogspot.com/2015/03/open-source-politics-and-aam-aadmi.html

        Reply
  3. raman

    This incident does not merit a very in depth analysis. People of India are surprisingly perceptive when it comes to discerning truth in dearth of all the facts. Years of Congress rule has ensured that. Just go on facebook page. Just check any post after this incident. Even the happy holi message. It will tell you what is the will of its volunteers. Trends of donation used to be a good indicator – but they took it down, maybe to hide their undemocratic nature in party.
    Even when it seems that someone has fooled the Indian public, it is more so that they allow themselves to be fooled. With time even people have learnt to use politicians for their own gains.
    And the most ironical thing is, the party crying foul about lokyukta of gujrat and asking for lokpal bill has a phony and sympathetic lokpal who is ready to delay/overlook enquiries etc just so the party can win elections.
    Its a complete betrayal and thus the reason for rhetoric and backdoor politics by the scared chamchas instead of sharing the proof in public domain.

    Reply
  4. Sujoy Lahiri

    Hi Vidyut: Truly appreciate such a wonder writing, especially on behalf of the volunteers. The volunteers of AAP are the people who have worked days and night for AAP, donated their hard earned income, some left their job, some even left family, fought with friends and relatives, went door to door campaigns, spent hundreds of hours on calling campaigns, organized flash mobs, wrote millions of posts on social media, organized fund-raising, built websites, made videos and on and on. Almost all of them never dreamt that they would work almost full time for a political party. And now they are watching their newly built dream, an icon of hope in their otherwise hopeless country, is shattering away infront of their eyes, and no one among the “pragmatics” give a damm about them, or about their wish, their plea, their prayer to keep an UnitedAAP. These volunteers know for sure that YY and PB (as they call them) are two of the most well recognized faces of AAP besides AK, both having sky-high repute among them. Most of these volunteers have watched them in TV debates and interviews and once in a while a little close in google hangouts with awe and respect having goose-bumps and pride to have them in AAP. These volunteers feel proud that they have the most eloquent political speaker of the country YY on their side and one of the best public prosecutors, PB, defending them legaly. The knowledge and wisdom of both YY and PB is an asset to any organization and your so called “pragmatics” are trashing them like used handkerchiefs and forgetting all the volunteers like a ladder that has been dumped in a storage after use and will be taken out when the next service is required. Yes, they are shattered, they are furious and they are so outraged that many of them are on a verge of being in a destructive mode. Unless Arvind is doing a serious revamp of AAP after his return and patch up his lost relation with YY and PB he would lose those millions of selfless “diamonds” he was so proud of as expressed during his oath ceremony on Feb 14.

    Reply
    1. raman

      “Pragmatics” is just a label to hide behind. Just like mobocracy and anarchy labels were used for swaraj. No one is buying those labels.
      YY and PB are much more pragmatic as well as idealists. The ones calling themselves “Pragmatic” appear only as money-grubbers to me and most of my friends. Thus these so call “Pragmatics” have failed at Pragmatism that is – A public figure should always have a trusted and clean figure who works in favour of public.

      Reply
  5. Chiramel

    Excellent analysis! Thank you for taking the considerable effort of collecting these thoughts at one place.

    This piece accurately captures emotions felt by the unaffiliated AAP supporter. Vidyut takes the needed effort to search for substantial arguments from both sides and remains cognizant of nuances that exist in the opposing arguments before arriving at her conclusions. It is not a YY-PB hero worshiping piece, and she rightly brings up at several places how the “intellectuals” could have done things a little differently, as also the possibility of “skill and cunning” in their near perfect defence of themselves. It comes from the heart, with the best of intentions for AAP, and it shows.

    I hope all those reading this will disseminate the piece far and wide, and especially to those managing this sad show. I am sure even they can learn some good things regarding how accommodating divergent viewpoints can not just lead to, but is necessary for a stronger AAP.

    I only wish Vidyut was more optimistic in her conclusions regarding a future for #UnitedAAP.

    I also hope she continues to constructively engage with AAP volunteers and supporters on this issue and make our voices heard to those who matter.

    Reply
    1. raman

      @Chiramel “I only wish Vidyut was more optimistic in her conclusions regarding a future for #UnitedAAP.”…

      I was very optimistic even when AAP lost LS elections. I felt that all they needed to do was keep going on. But this is very a very different situation. The only person who was talking right was YY – I mean every time I had a doubt about AAP, I listened to him and he used to raise that concern with more initiative that I would have imagined, I mean on lack of women candidates(which YY eloquently put that he wanted women of substance and not just family members of some family so they are finding problems. Seemed legit as many MNCs who are required by overseas head office to have 50-50 ratio in India find the same problem while finding suitable candidates for job), Internal democracy, PAC instead of collective decision making, one-man-show instead of AAP, no public listing of spending of funds, etc. etc.
      He allayed all our genuine concerns and made us feel everything is being considered and process may be delayed but at place.
      Now that person himself has been thrown out and the fears which he allayed are not being addressed – in fact the same fears are becoming stronger with the haughty way they are acting.
      How can I trust AAP now? I can trust YY, because he was a victim of what AAP was founded to fight, which makes it even harder to trust AAP.
      This is perhaps the first crisis AAP is facing and it is completely in self-destruct mode. I mean listening to volunteers is the only sensible decision and only that can help survive – anyone can see that. But right now no one is ready to take it.
      And Bhagwant Mann did a U-turn on his stand in days. Listen to him speak before they removed PB and YY and listen to him now. Reeks of backdoor politics and compromises. Was he threatened? Because ideology can not change in a few days.

      Reply
      1. Chiramel

        Yes, I mostly agree with you on YY.

        Also on how this whole thing feels like a betrayal of AAP’s founding principles as well of its thousands upon thousands of supporters.

        Coming to YY, I myself have listened to almost all his interviews during the current crisis, and have searched in them for hints of insincerity, deception or double-crossing that many of the Delhi folks are alleging, and have honestly found none. Yadav is remarkably consistent in the ideas he espouses for the “new political experiment of AAP”, on due process, etc. in interview after interview, and interestingly, they are identical with interviews he has given many months and even years ago!

        I am sure if one were to psychoanalyze him, he too would be revealed to have personal ambitions and goals – but that is an unrealistic standard to use and one that no one, and especially so the Delhi gang, will be able to pass. I find this attempt after a resounding victory to oust YY and PB – two of the best individuals in AAP and any political party in India – reeking of petty ambition and small mindedness!

        The only possible criticism that can be made against YY and PB are made here (also interesting counters in the comments), but it is not one that the Delhi folks are making:
        http://kafila.org/2015/03/07/reading-the-power-struggle-in-aap/
        Even if one completely agreed with all of the above Kafila criticisms of YY / PB, one would still not need to trigger the current slugfest to resolve them, as there already exist party mechanisms to deal with them.

        What saddens me most about the demise of AAP as we know it, if that happens, is that it will take several decades more before another such ambitious attempt will be made, and so many well intentioned folks are able to collect together with common purpose again. I am speaking here not of leaders, but of the lakhs and lakhs of faceless and voiceless volunteers who have given their sweat and treasure to experiment and execute what they thought was an alternative idea in Indian politics.

        To me, AAP seems just too important an idea to be destroyed for such petty reasons as are being presented!

        Reply
    2. Vidyut Post author

      I wish I felt more optimistic too, dost. I am not a supporter of AAP, but I have celebrated the rise of AAP as a useful option for India’s masses. Yet the situation does not merit much hope. There is great spirit among the volunteers, but the control over the party is fairly entrenched. It would be misleading to imply that a solution looks likely. Unless the clearly planned move in the National Council fails or some other radical factor enters the dynamic.

      Reply
      1. raman

        @Vidyut
        I am also feeling pessimistic but talking to volunteers is very heartening in a way. Somehow I am denying that such an organisation will fail because leaders were failures. I mean real test of swaraj lies in a scenario where leaders fail us.
        Maybe some miracle would happen…

        Reply
    1. snehal

      well documented chronology of events (though mention of the 12 candidates against whom objections/evidences were passed on to the Internal Lokpal – what happened to the 10 about who the Lokpal had not had enough time to investigate -9 of them are now AAP MLAs, and the objections against them- and why PB did not want to campaign for them, and also the nuber of Jansabhas, Roadshows, rallies that YY did during 2015 elections- apart from ‘thumb dwindling’,, merit a mention in the chronology)..
      But something of concern… when you say..
      “Investigating and removing from authority EVERYONE who demonstrably acted against party interest – including people who hijacked the rights of others as well as Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav – though volunteers have pretty much shredded the allegations by now.”
      .. question is who will investigate.. and more than that what is ‘party interest’?
      If party interest was ‘winning 2015 elections’.. then well PB did not do a press conference after all…
      If party interest was ‘winning 2015 elections with thumping majority’.. then also- well PB did not do a press conference after all…
      If party interest was ‘winning 2015 elections with adequate majority while having cleaner MLA candidates’.. then although PB did not do a press conference after all… but should have pressed for more than 2 MLAs getting replaced..
      If party interest was ‘winning 2015 elections with adequate majority while having cleaner MLA candidates’.. then all the other leaders who campaigned for the ‘not clean ones’ should be guilty… (internal democracy or not.. AAP has made- allegedly and most likely ‘corrupt’ candidates- MLAs in at least 9 constituencies.. that is 9*1.5 lakh voters per constituency- on an average.. that is betrayal of trust on AAP party’s image among at least 15 lakh voters (and their children…). that is straight up fraud..
      If party interest was ‘equivalent to people’s interest and for that winning 2015 elections with adequate majority while having cleaner MLA candidates’.. then giving cleanest candidates (as much as making the win) becomes all the more important..
      If party interest was ‘changing the politics and having cleaner MLA candidates’.. then?
      There is an underlying assumption that we cannot change politics and that ‘not-so-clean’ candidates are essential and ‘must be allowed to win’ (and hence punish those who did not campaign for them). The real analysis that is required is of why we won in 2015. From my volunteering (and campaign-managing during 2013) experience.. I have realised..
      we won not ‘mainly because of ‘ our efforts.. but ‘mainly because of’ people’s impression about us, and about BJP and Congress. and that impression does not get created just by ground work.. but by news.. and volunteers’s mouth publicity- and the kind of persons the volunteers are (non-corrupt..?)
      In 2013— we were facing the major task of “informing” 1.5 lakh voters in each constituency that “AAP exists” and “its election symbol is the broom”. It was when ground work mattered the most..
      In 2014– we were facing the romantic image created by Namo bhakts and BJP hopes.. and people went for that hope
      In 2015– people’s hopes were shattered with BJP (and to me that is the main reason behind 67/70 seats) and they had another hope in AAP in Delhi. This was when ground work mattered the least..
      My experience tells me.. it is not so much the ground-campaign.. but the overall image.. that gets conveyed- which brings the results.. and that image gets conveyed mainly through media (electronic, print, radio and social media) and lastly affirmed or negated by the (kind of) volunteer/ other leader faces.. (apart from one leader in the media)
      so to attribute that for party’s interest of winning elections= ground campaign.. is faulty.. (where YY also did much ground campaign- look at the number of jansabhas- road shows- rallies etc.. PB’s image of ‘cycle-rickshaw-wala’s lawyer and the fame of his anti-corruption cases- was what gave credibility to the hope in AAP,,, and was the reason behind ousting congress in the first place— so to say that his work did not contribute to the ground effect in 2015.. is faulty//
      when you say
      “Norms must be created by means of which no people can have the authority to act against their equals unilaterally – that implies some being more equal than others. This means that conflict between leaders must be resolved through the Lokpal or by appealing to Kejriwal or referendum with volunteers, and not some leaders acting against those they want to target. ”
      AAP’s constitution already says disciplinary complaints/actions should be channelised to the Internal Lokpal– )and precisely because the Delhi AAP knows that they would loose there.. that they are avoiding that route). it is RIP AAP Constitution!! so any organisational development consultant who gave these suggestions.. what happens when the constitution is not followed?

      The most problematic in your suggestions is that you are in effect saying
      (Internal) Lokpal = Kejriwal = referendum with volunteers.
      I disagree!!
      This seems to me against the basic norms of justice..
      Kejriwal could have ‘conflict of interest’ in a dispute (and the Delhi AAP is harping precisely on that- projecting it as ‘all about the convener’s post’.
      referendum with volunteers has 2 problems
      1. definition of ‘volunteers’.. this we faced even when we tried volunteer voting on MLA shortlisted candidates for 2013 elections-
      2. bigger problem- majoritarianism– what Kejriwal himself – says may be 1 out of 10 got the right idea/ more truthful idea– ay be he is right and 9 are wrong– then? Also it could result- in mobocracy.. and all the more reason for hijacking social media handles, coercing MLAs and party functionaries to ‘sign letters against some people’.
      judiciary and executive have been kept separate in Indian Constitution for this reason I believe.. while democracy and referendum is good for governance, it could violate the laws of justice when it comes to judging who did wrong/right or what is wrong/right..

      so I really like the post.. i beg to differ on the ‘way forward’ section.. for the way forward.. I would wait for YY, PB (and much to AK- unless he really takes a U turn) suggestions..

      Reply
      1. Vidyut Post author

        Appreciate your passionate and thought out comment. I am not equating Lokpal with Arvind Kejriwal and volunteers. For that matter, Lokpal too is an individual and subject to biases. Volunteers are many individuals subject to their own biases. This is a human thing. Which is why processes are important. What happened amounts to little more than 2 people having one view, 10 people having a problem with it and kicking them out without due investigations and based on the accusations of those who were already engaging in anti-party activity by publishing that slander in public. The idea is that when there are differences between equals, then there must be due process – what the process is can be determined by consensus or another method, but you cannot have a valid judgment among peers. Then you are just using numbers to be a lynch mob. Kejriwal may have his biases, but as head of organization, he has responsibility to make choices that stand up to scrutiny, unlike those that ran this show.

        Reply

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