The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is now aiming at getting its organisational structure right. Topmost things on its list of priorities are developing a power hierarchy and the registration as well as training of its volunteer force. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s direct interaction with his cadre is next.
The move comes nearly a fortnight after senior AAP leader Shanti Bhushan questioned Kejriwal’s organisational skills and criticised the slow pace of rebuilding the party. On Saturday, Kejriwal had announced that he will hand out ‘volunteer certificates’ only to hard-working people. The rest, he said, would have to go.
Currently, there are 11,368 volunteers in-charge of polling booths, 3,000 in-charge of polling stations, 70 observers and 14 district-level coordinators. Besides them, numerous other volunteers are carrying out a city-wide signature campaign to press for fresh elections in Delhi. “Those who are not taking part in the ongoing signature campaign will not remain our volunteers. We’re keeping an eye on every one. Only those who give up everything for the party will remain with us,” Kejriwal said in his address to volunteers.
To deal with the run-ins AAP has had with its volunteers — the backbone of the party — Kejriwal has also begun talking of a clear hierarchy. “If you have any complaint, approach those in charge of booths, polling stations, constituencies or districts. Not satisfied, you can approach the two vice-presidents — Dilip Pandey and Durgesh Pathak. Then there is Ashutosh and [finally] me,” he said.
AAP drew a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the Capital. Many attributed the loss to a poor organisational structure. In his address, Kejriwal has also said the party is working to fix accountability of everyone from top to bottom.
AAP will also move its office from Hanuman Road in Connaught Place to Patel Nagar in west Delhi. “I meet volunteers at the Ghaziabad office three days a week. I will meet them for two more days once we shift our office,” Kejriwal said in his address.
Kejriwal has already held volunteer meetings in about 25 assembly constituencies and plans to have more of these. He does a Google Hangout session every week, which is followed by volunteers meetings. “We have to train our volunteers. We will have to prepare audio-visual material. It’s taking time. But we will do it,” he said.
Kejriwal is also looking at introducing a more transparent way of choosing candidates. “We need a mechanism which will ensure that views of all three stakeholders — people, party and volunteers. Voting by volunteers is no solution as they fall prey to factionalism,” he told volunteers.