Apparently prompted by the flak and dissent it drew after announcement of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was forced to pacify its supporters by way of a video session explaining the procedure/criterion for selection of candidates.
Pankaj Gupta, AAP’s national secretary, addressed the session, akin to Google Hangout, explaining the process of candidate selections streamed live late on Sunday night. The session, however, had tough questions, not all of which were answered successfully by him.
Ranging from Moradabad (UP), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Ludhiana (Punjab) and closer home North-west Delhi (Delhi), the AAP witnessed heavy dissent from local party workers and at times office bearers protesting what they termed as “imposing” of the candidate-designate by the central leadership. The workers had also questioned lack of transparency in the process of candidate selection.
“Five Cs – criminality, corruption, cast-related violence, community-related violence and character – and the ‘winability’ of the candidate played a major role in selection,” Gupta said and after explaining the procedure, reiterated the party’s stand: “Even at the last minute, some one comes with proof of criminality, corruption or bad character against any candidate, we will remove him.”
To a question if there are complaints of corruption against state and district committee members, how can such people find correct candidates and how can the party workers convey it to the central leadership, Gupta said, “We cannot generalise.”
But immediately an office bearer from Uttarakhand mentioned about how their team had conveyed more than a month ago about a similar issue and escalated it to the right people, Gupta defended saying: “There are two factions working against each other. But this is not the right forum to discuss this.”
But he also admitted there is mistrust among factions and requested the volunteers and party workers “We have to fight (with) outside, let’s not fight within.”
The AAP national secretary, however, agreed: “the party needs to improve on the feed back system.”
Objections were also raised at the short notice within which the session was held “apparently to leave out” many from participation.
On a question about “what is the place of a volunteer” in the party, Gupta ended the session with an appeal: “There is a feeling that the party belongs to those who joined before December 8 (the day when Delhi assembly election result was declared) or before the party was formed (November 2012) and people were associated with anti-corruption movement. But we need to look beyond it. We need to let people come in. Let us enlarge our hearts.”