Aam Aadmi Party’s Bijwasan MLA : is the latest voice from within the party to point to faultlines, but refuses being part of the growing rebellion. The retired Army colonel says the beleaguered duo of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan are too precious to lose and blames colleagues who give wrong advice to party chief Arvind Kejriwal. Excerpts:
AAP just completed one month in government, but it is in news for wrong reasons?
AAP is still evolving. During our 49-day government, one thing that went against us was the perception that we were impulsive. We should correct that. There are issues of ideology and work culture. Differences are bound to arise. Look at Mahatma Gandhi. He carried Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak along. But we also had Indira Gandhi, who split the Congress. You should not allow differences to lead to a point of no return.
Are you blaming Kejriwal?
Arvind believes in transparency and swaraj. He is a mature leader. The problem is everyone wants to fulfill Arvind’s wishes. It is in the interest of the party that we remain ‘salahkar’ (advisers) and don’t become ‘sahmatikar’ (yes men).
You are not part of the petition that some AAP MLAs signed for removal of Yadav and Bhushan from the party. Any particular reason?
It’s one version against the other. A fair evaluation should take place. If their loyalty or conduct is suspect, it should be examined more systematically by a competent authority--that is AAP’s internal Lokpal. I disapprove the whole thing. Also, the party hasn’t issued any whip to sign the petition.
What’s your take on the two?
These two have contributed to the party immensely. These are people of your ideology. Both have been removed from the political affairs committee. The principles of natural justice say you cannot punish a person twice for the same mistake. We must go out of our way, and show we have a large heart. Forgive, forget and carry on.
But aren’t you differing with your own MLAs?
When the top leadership has dealt with them, why drag it to MLAs and volunteers? You are stretching it. This is why I did not sign the petition. I don’t know how many MLAs have signed it. Such drastic steps send a message of intolerance.
What’s the lesson in all of this?
Look at the Lok Sabha election results, what happened in Haryana, Delhi? The voter today wants quick and widespread results. Today work and perception, both matter. People will respect you as long as you are accommodating (their views). Justice should not only be done, it should be seen to be done. Sometimes the latter is more important.
How do you justify Kejriwal’s attempt to break Congress and form government when AAP had been pressing for fresh elections?
This shows a bit of a conflict. See, we didn’t want the BJP to come to power. Congress had supported us once. We wanted to see if they can come back to the starting point. BJP’s gameplan was to delay elections and rule by proxy. We wanted to remove the Lieutenant Governor’s rule.
But is it fair?
If a government can be provided through legitimate means, what’s the problem? It’s not a case of financial impropriety, and we don’t know the authenticity of the tape.