As the Aam Aadmi Patry rides high on its growing popularity and projections of a dream debut in the December 4 polls, an internal crisis is threatening to bring it crashing down.
A senior party leader, Rakesh Agarwal, has called AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal authoritarian and, in an open letter to him, referred to weaknesses “that could kill our dream”. He has accused Kejriwal of building a personality cult and “relentlessly moving towards snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”, as a result of which “betrayed, dismayed and disillusioned volunteers are turning their backs (on the party)”.
Agarwal, who has been associated with Kejriwal since 2000 and was key in mobilising autorickshaw drivers to drum up support for AAP, wrote the letter (HT has a copy of it) on October 28 — hopeful that there was still time for course correction.
But having received no reply, he plans to hold a hold a press conference on Tuesday “to make an important announcement”, details of which he refused to divulge.
Pointing out that the rookie party was already paying the price for vote-bank politics, political immaturity and adhocism in organisational structure, Agarwal has written: “Delhi has been witnessing a crass personality cult built around you. I am yet to see a poster, banner, pamphlet, press conference or radio advertisement that doesn’t bear your name, image or voice.”
He goes on to hint that there could be more dissident voices: “It is the façade of swaraj (an idea close to Kejriwal) behind which authoritarianism rules that has alienated several key personalities. I need not name them.”
“Nothing moves without your nod. Power is delegated to those who quietly do your bidding instead of raising red flags. Are we seeing a repeat of the sycophantic ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’? Will we soon have party faithful mouthing ‘Kejriwal is kismet and kismet is Kejriwal’,” the letter reads.
“There is no roadmap to keep the promises being made every day. There is deafening silence on governance. Intelligence is missing in our campaigns, which have failed to touch the people.”
Phone calls and text messages to Kejriwal and his lieutenant Manish Sisodia went unanswered.