Discontent seems to be brewing within a small section of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers, at a time when the party is holding its three-day national executive meeting in Punjab to discuss its expansion plans.
While the party is trying to recover from its debacle in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the workers stated that they were “horrified by the shattering of their dreams” and want “more say” in the decision making.
A group of volunteers under the banner of AAP Volunteers Action Manch on Thursday wrote to AAP’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta, saying, “...AAP is fast losing its image of being different. Everything begins and ends with political power. Principle and propriety matter little, if at all.”
On Friday, Karan Singh, AAP’s volunteer mobilisation man, met senior party leader Prashant Bhushan to appeal against his expulsion from the party early this month. “I have presented my case. I had only sought internal democracy through AAP Volunteers Action Manch. It was a process of decentralization, something that is definitely not scary.”
The AAP, which pulled the plug on its own Congress-backed minority government after 49 days in power, with Kejriwal resigning as chief minister in February, has been seeking fresh elections in Delhi. Reports of discontent among a section of volunteers of the party may hurt its resurrection plans.
Singh’s expulsion is in continuation with several key AAP members either quitting for lack of “internal democracy” or being pushed out for “anti-party” activities. Singh was an important cog in AAP’s wheel; so much so that he was made chief grievance redress officer when AAP was in power this winter.
A senior AAP functionary in Delhi denied the party had anything to do with AAP Volunteers Action Manch. “We have already clarified that this outfit can potentially be an attempt by politically motivated people who want to create confusion and acquire our volunteer-base data,” the functionary said.
Singh, who is also part of the group which has written to Gupta, said, “The party can either accept or reject our proposals. It has time till July 31. In case of no-response we will announce our course of action on August 1.” Singh said.
He also claimed that the AAP Volunteers Action Manch had the support of 10,000 volunteers.
Rajiv Sonkar, who claimed to be an AAP volunteer too and has signed the letter to Gupta, said, “Volunteers feel they are not heard. Party leadership is no longer accessible to them.”
“We demand implementation of RTI Act within the party and setting up of an internal Lokpal.”