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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

After dissent, Kejriwal talks of AAP restructuring

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times   New Delhi, June 08, 2014
First Published: 18:11 IST(8/6/2014) | Last Updated: 04:04 IST(9/6/2014)

In the face of growing dissent and criticism over its election debacle, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Sunday that it was time to undergo a restructuring exercise and stressed it had fared well in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

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Talking to reporters at the end of the AAP's three-day national executive meet, party chief Arvind Kejriwal also downplayed the controversy over Yogendra Yadav's e-mail questioning internal democracy in the 19-month-old organisation, saying "issues crop up in a new family".

Kejriwal, who contested against Narendra Modi in Varanasi and repeatedly attacked him during the election campaign, congratulated him for being elected as the new Prime Minister. 

Notwithstanding the AAP's showing in the polls — it won just four of the 430 seats in which it fielded candidates, Kejriwal said, "Our party won 1 crore 13 lakh votes in an election centered around a person (read Modi)… This shows people have huge expectations for the future from our party."

Faced with criticism over its future and desertions of top leaders such as Shazia Ilmi, the former Delhi chief minister added the party will launch Mission Vistaar (expansion) to strengthen the party's organisational base, stressing the need for grass-roots connect.

Amid talks of rift in the party and lack of internal democracy, Kejriwal added his party will undergo an overhaul as committees from the booth level to the national level will be reconstituted.  

Among these key panels features the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC), the functioning of which came under the scanner after Yadav, who contested and lost the Gurgaon seat, offered to resign from it, laying bare the rift in the AAP.

Yadav, known to be a key strategist, had written to the PAC after offering his resignation, charging the party with "falling prey to personality cult" and alleging that the decisions taken reflected the wishes of the party chief.

His mail had triggered a sharp response from within, as senior leader Manish Sisodia questioned his motives and strategies for the Lok Sabha polls.

In a desperate bid to quell the controversy, Kejriwal had on Saturday termed Yadav a 'dear friend', projecting all is well in the rookie party.

Talking to reporters on Sunday, Kejriwal raked up some key issues that have become the talking points of late, requesting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government not to increase gas prices.

He also requested politicians cutting across party lines to take firm steps in order to ensure security for women at a time when a series of sex crimes, including the Badaun gang-rape and murder case, has jolted the nation.

Kejriwal also asked the Centre to act tough in the murder case of the Pune IT professional who was beaten to death with hockey sticks during a protest over morphed images of Bal Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Taking a dig at the BJP-led government over frequent power cuts in Delhi this summer, Kejriwal, who ran a 49-day government in the Capital, said the scenario was better during his party's rule.


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