As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) prepares for a reach-out campaign to press for fresh assembly elections in Delhi, discontent within the party threatens to take some sheen off the drive.
The AAP will from Wednesday start a door-to-door campaign and attempt to get all 35 lakh households in 70 assembly seats across the capital to sign a petition in favour of the dissolution of the Assembly. The campaign will initially run for 15 days. It will be further extended after reviewing the response.
From Saturday, a group of party volunteers, who recently formed the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM), will also undertake a silent protest at Jantar Mantar to “make sure there’s inner democracy in the party”.
Senior AAP leader and MLA Manish Sisodia, who will kick-start the signature campaign from his constituency Patparganj, however, sought to dismiss the protest as a non-issue. “We have no comments to make on people who are no longer with the party,” he said. “We’re trying to define who our volunteer is. This will be followed by a process of registration to avoid such confusion,” said another AAP leader.
The AVAM is by no means a split in AAP but it is also important because of the kind of people who are spearheading it. Karan Singh, once AAP’s go-to man for volunteer mobilization, is one of them. He along with some others went on to hold a press conference on Tuesday to “make their voices heard.”
Geetanjali Aggrawal, an AVAM member, said, “We’re AAP volunteers and not a B team of the BJP. We’re only fighting for transparency. We will never join the BJP or form a separate party. We only want to strengthen the AAP.”
She claimed that about 1,000 AAP volunteers in Delhi supported the AVAM.
The AAP will distribute signature forms along with a message from party chief Arvind Kejriwal explaining why elections should be held in Delhi. Delhi has been without a government ever since he quit as the chief minister in February this year.
“AAP proposes to reach out to maximum eligible voters to ascertain their opinion on fresh elections. We will also expose the BJP’s doublespeak on the issue of full statehood to Delhi, as its own central government is curtailing powers of Delhi’s anti-graft mechanism,” a party spokesperson said.