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Now, AAP’s legal cell convenor turns a rebel

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 06, 2014
First Published: 00:50 IST(6/3/2014) | Last Updated: 14:24 IST(6/3/2014)

The Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday faced rebellion again when an office bearer alleged "high command culture", pre-decided candidates and the party's deviation from the core issue of corruption.

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Ashwini Upadhyay, AAP's legal cell convenor, alleged candidates on 64 of the 70 seats declared ahead of the Lok Sabha polls were fixed. AAP rejected his allegation.

"The party conducted interviews of more than 10,000 people for these 70 seats. But names such as Ashutosh (Chandni Chowk candidate), Jarnail Singh (west Delhi), Raj Mohan Gandhi (east Delhi), Yogendra Yadav (Gurgaon), Khalid Pervez (Moradabad) and Anjali Damania (Nagpur) among others were pre-decided. Why then the farce of interviewing thousands of others?" Upadhyay told reporters. "People were chosen for certain seats and then they became party members."

The party was formed more than a year ago to get rid of "corruption", "communalism", "high command culture", "dynastic rule" and "caste-based" politics, he said. But the manner in which certain amendments were carried out in the AAP's

constitution during the January 31 meeting of the National Council clearly established that the "by giving all powers to few people, the high command culture has crept in. The top leaders who talk of Swaraj (de-centralisation) for India

should first practice it within the party."

Scores of other volunteers and party workers too have had expressed resentment in the recent past over the manner in which the amendment were carried out. Also, complaints have been heard from several constituencies where local workers expressed unhappiness over "imposition" of a particular candidate--for instance Khalid Pervez at Moradabad or Anjali Damania for Nagpur--by the "high command."

Upadhyay questioned why is the party is entertaining people funded by American organisations like the Ford Foundation by including them in the various committees to formulate policies. "Why is Yudhvir Singh, the officer who had given clean chit to (Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law) Robert Vadhra in the alleged land scam included in the party's 'Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation' committee?"

Upadhyay said he had repeatedly sought appointment with Kejriwal, wrote several mails to him and other party leaders, but received no response from anybody.

Pankaj Gupta, AAP's national secretary, refused to acknowledge in the first place that Upadhyay was any 'convenor' or any office bearer in the party. "Each one of us is a member here and we have responsibilities."

"During the 2013 Delhi election, I was one of the authorised signatories for any kind of correspondence with the Delhi Election Commission," said Upadhyay.

Gupta also refuted Upadhyay's claim about pre-decided candidates: "If the party had actually decided, why does he think we conducted so many interviews? We were searching for the best candidate."

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