Within weeks of forming government in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is gearing up for a national role and is firming up plans for the Lok Sabha elections, is already looking like a divided house.
While party’s MLA from Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar constituency Vinod Kumar Binny has accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of betraying people, another prominent member and Deccan Air founder Captain Gopinath has criticised the decision to block foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail in the Capital.
Binny, who stoked a controversy even at the time of swearing-in, claimed the government had strayed from its goals. “There is a lot of difference between what we had promised and the way these are fulfilled. I will expose the party tomorrow at a press conference,” he said on Wednesday.
Kejriwal, however, trashed his claims. “We had a meeting of all the representatives from different constituencies last evening. Why was he silent then?” the CM told reporters in the evening. “If there are issues, why did he not speak up then? He had also come to my house to seek a Lok Sabha ticket.”
Binny, who had defeated health minister AK Walia, a popular Congress leader, said Kejriwal’s statement was “biggest lie”. “I have never even sought minister’s post,” Binny, who was once with the Congress, said.
The day got worst when Captain Gopinath criticised the party’s decision on FDI. “AAP is in the danger of being branded like other political parties — resorting to cheap and populist measures and opposing for the sake of opposing,” he told HT. The decision would send a wrong message to investors.
Kejriwal government recently reversed the previous government’s nod to deep-discount superstores in Delhi, one of the first states to have allowed FDI in multi-brand retail.
The party also came under fire from new entrant Tina Sharma, formerly with the BJP. The party was taking closed-door decisions on candidates for the Delhi Lok Sabha seats, she said, adding five of the seven Delhi candidates had already been picked. “If these names -- Shazia Ilmi, Ashutosh, Gopal Rai, Dilip Pandey and Ashish Talwar -- have already been decided on, why are they indulging in drama of inviting applications from other?” she said.
In another development, renowned Hindi poet Ashok Chakradhar accused the Kejriwal government of not accepting formally his resignation from the post of the vice-chairperson of the Hindi Academy. His name on an academy invitation card was replaced with that of party member Kumar Vishwas, also a poet, without the government releasing him from his post, Chakradhar said.
Vishwas, as reported by HT on January 15, has already run foul of danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who recently joined AAP, for his remarks against gays and minorities.