AAP puts up united front after EC jolt, softens stand on rebels
With 20 of its MLAs likely to be ousted from the Assembly if the President gives his nod to EC’s recommendations, party sources say that the leadership has begun reaching out to its dissidentdelhi Updated: Jan 21, 2018 00:58 IST
The Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 of its MLAs has come a major setback to the Aam Aadmi Party, but its top leadership is pulling out all stops to put up a united front.
Aware of its repercussion, which means a bypoll in 20 Assembly seats unless the court gives a stay, the AAP has started to soften its stand towards its rebel lawmakers and those who were sacked from ministerial posts. “At present, there is only one MLA, Kapil Mishra, who is suspended from the party. All other 65 legislators are very much a part of the party,” said a government spokesperson.
With 20 of its MLAs likely to be ousted from the Assembly if the President gives his nod to EC’s recommendations, party sources say that the leadership has begun reaching out to its dissidents and keeping controversies at bay — be it Kumar Vishwas whom the AAP called a ‘loose cannon’ or about its selection of Rajya Sabha members.
Bijwasan MLA Devinder Kumar Sehrawat, who was suspended from the party’s primary leadership in September 2016 after “receiving a series of complaints against him”, has now been brought back into the party’s fold. “I spoke to a senior AAP functionary on Friday and things look quite welcoming now. It would be unfair on my part to say that efforts for reconciliation are not being made from the party’s side as well as from my end. CM Kejriwal also met me personally,” Sehrawat said.
He also acknowledged of having been “too outspoken” and that now he raises his concerns only within the party.
Sacked woman and child development minister Sandeep Kumar’s suspension from the party was also silently revoked. Sources said Kumar was one of the invitees in the government’s Diwali gathering last year.
Tri Nagar MLA Jitender Singh Tomar, who was sacked as law minister for allegedly using a fake degree, said he has been in regular touch with the AAP’s higher ranks. “My communication with the party is no longer strained. Senior leaders are maintaining cordial relations and I too want to contribute in whatever way I can,” he said.
Another sacked MLA, Asim Ahmed Khan, said he has not been in touch with CM Kejriwal for over a year, “but all other MLAs are on good talking terms with me. Even when the Delhi Assembly is in session, we all have chai (tea) together”.
Even if bypolls are conducted, there is no immediate threat to the AAP government because if it loses 20 MLAs, the party would still have 46 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, maintaining an easy majority.
Still, the party is trying to keep its flock together in order to avoid any defection.