Mired in controversies: Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 02, 2015 15:04 IST

Serious differences appear to have cropped up within the AAP, including over Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's role in the party, with internal lokpal Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas pointing to two camps emerging within top leadership. There are also reports of a crisis in the party involving senior member Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav.

However, it is not the first time AAP has been in the centre of a controversy. Here is a look at 5 controversies involving AAP:

“Aam Aadmi” flying business class, December 2014: AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal literally flew into the middle of a controversy when he travelled in business class to Dubai to attend a felicitation event, sparking strong reaction from the opposition which said his "real face" had been "exposed". The AAP, however, sprang to Kejriwal's defence, asking whether it was a crime to travel business class, a facility it said was provided by the organisers. Arvind Kejriwal had also defended himself, saying that it was his dream for India that an 'aam aadmi' should also be able to travel the same way.

Prashant Bhushan’s referendum comment on Kashmir, January, 2014 — The AAP distanced itself from the remarks of party leader Prashant Bhushan that a referendum should be carried out in Kashmir before deployment of the army to deal with internal security threats in the valley. Kejriwal described Bhushan’s comments as his personal view and added there was “no question of a referendum” on the issue. “Deployment of the army within the country should be decided on basis of internal security threat.” Bhushan also clarified, saying he believed Kashmir is an integral part of India. “Any reference to referendum should not be misconstrued to mean plebiscite on Kashmir’s relationship with India.”

Prashant Bhushan’s objections on candidate selection for Delhi elections, February, 2015: AAP co-founder and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was conspicuous by his absence during celebrations after the party won an unprecedented victory in Delhi elections. In fact, he went on to warn that the party's biggest challenge lay in "controlling" its legislators to ensure that they did not compromise on long-held principles. The senior supreme court lawyer had also raised objections about candidate selection for Delhi Elections.

Foreign funding controversy, February 2015: Prior to the Delhi assembly elections, the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM), a splinter group of the Aam Aadmi Party, had alleged that the party received Rs. 2 crore in four equal instalments from companies registered in Delhi slums and having the same set of directors. But the party got a clean chit from the courts post-elections, when the government on informed Delhi high court that nothing has been found against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in its probe regarding allegations that it had received offshore funds in violation of FCRA provisions.

“Take money from them but vote for us”, January 2015: While campaigning for the Delhi assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal, time and again, encouraged his supporters to accept bribes from rival parties—mostly BJP and Congress—but vote only for AAP. He was issued a show cause notice by the Election Commission for violation of the poll code. According to PTI, AAP decided to move the Delhi high court against the EC order.

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