Less than 24 hours after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced its first list of 20 Lok Sabha contestants, scores of party workers and volunteers across the country have questioned the party's procedure for selection of these candidates.
On Monday, almost 50-60 agitated party office bearers and volunteers from Moradabad and Najeebabad from western UP landed at the AAP's office on the Hanuman Road near Connaught Place after AAP had announced on Sunday educationist Khalid Parvaiz's name as the party's Moradabad candidate.
The main issue raised was that the local volunteers and office bearers, who had been with the party for long time, were not consulted about any names. Further, the group alleged, the party did not follow its own rule – as per the decisions taken by the national executive and the national council – for screening of the candidates. The steps included putting up a list of short listed candidates, getting comments on them, interviewing each one of them and then, declaring the final name.
Sanjay Singh, party leader and in-charge of UP, held a meeting to pacify the group, led by Vishal Sharma. The workers confronted Singh on various issues, including the 'high command' culture that is rising in the party. "What ever happened to the party's own decision? How did you announce the name without consulting us?" said one of them. Pointing out that "party leaders preach from public platforms that there is no high command culture in the AAP", Sharma said: "But in reality, it is the high command sitting at Delhi that is deciding things for us, without talking to us."
The restless group also claimed they also had problems with Parvaiz's candidature, who they said, joined recently after deserting Samajwadi Party, but had more issues about the missing procedure.
"If you have any negative inputs about him (Parvaiz) let me know," Singh told the group, only to be promptly countered by Sharma, who stated: "You tell us one good thing about him." Singh could not answer his question.
Minutes earlier, during a press briefing, media persons had questioned Singh on rebels and dissenters, when he had said, "Agreed there will be such instances of dissension. We need to respect the sentiments of such workers and communicate with them to pacify them."
The meeting with the western UP group, however, ended with Singh promising to take up the issue with the party's political affairs committee and also consulting the local office bearers for remaining seats.