On the day the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released its first list of candidates for the upcoming assembly polls, the party’s rebel parliamentarian Dr Dharamvira Gandhi charged the party with ignoring genuine volunteers and giving tickets to “parachute” leaders, who “jumped into” the party after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Lok Sabha member from Patiala, who has been suspended by the party, said despite AAP’s bid to include only non-controversial candidates in the first list, the move has invited strong criticism and fuelled disillusionment among volunteers.
Dr Gandhi said the list proves AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and his aides have nothing to do with inner party democracy and the ideology of “Swaraj”, upon which AAP was formed. “They want to use Punjab as a ladder to fulfil their national ambitions. Ignoring volunteers, they have given candidature to people who had zero contribution in building the party,” he said.
Citing the example of SAS Nagar, Dr Gandhi said Delhi-based AAP leaders “bulldozed” the choice of volunteers, who were opposed to Himmat Shergill. “The rebellion at Faridkot, Sultanpur Lodhi and Rupnagar is also genuine. If they had to send parachute leaders, why did they mislead the workers?” he questioned.
The rebel MP also questioned the party leadership on the absence of names of senior leaders from the list. “Kejriwal deliberately withheld their names, so that he can adjust more leaders of his choice,” he said.
Dr Gandhi warned Kejriwal of an “uncontrollable rebellion of volunteers” once the second list of candidates comes out. “The list will include candidates with deep pockets, opportunists who entered the party from other political outfits, and some protégés of the so-called high command,” he said, while calling for a transparent procedure for announcing candidates.