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Kumar Vishwas riles senior leaders in AAP yet again

Vishwas has been critical of excessive centralisation within AAP in the past. Recently in a party conference, he dissed the party’s handling of the Punjab and Goa elections.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2017 12:29 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aam Aadmi Party,Kumar Vishwas,AAP election results
Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas says Rajasthan unit would be run according to the wishes of local volunteers(HT File Photo)

Days after his loyalty was questioned at the Aam Aadmi Party’s national executive meeting earlier this month, senior leader Kumar Vishwas continues to aggravate the party’s top brass. At a conference of AAP volunteers from Rajasthan on Saturday, Vishwas gave a speech that included a scathing critique of the party’s handling of the Punjab and Goa elections.

Vishwas said that the party’s Rajasthan unit would be run according to the wishes of local volunteers, and that it would raise its own funds for next year’s assembly election. He received cheers and applause for the comment that “the days of Delhi’s dominance are over.”

He also outlined specific reforms, saying that no central leader’s pictures will be used in campaign material and that no one who joins the party within one year of the poll, slated for November 2018, will be given a ticket.

A video of the speech is available on YouTube.

Vishwas and others have criticised the party for excessive centralisation in the past. On April 28, Vishwas said in a TV interview that AAP should introspect rather than blame its losses on electronic voting machines.

In Punjab, the only state other than Delhi where the party has elected representatives, Gurpreet Singh Waraich quit last month after being summarily replaced as party chief. Many in the AAP now admit that trying to run the Punjab state unit from Delhi was among the factors that cost it the election.

AAP leaders were livid over Vishwas’s latest critique. “You should ask him if his speech was provided to him by a rival party,” said one senior member of the party. This politician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that the AAP is in talks with other parties in Rajasthan that may be jeopardised by Vishwas’s comments.

Vishwas himself was not available for comment on Sunday and Monday morning. On Sunday, his office said the AAP leader was “in a poor connectivity zone in Bareilly”. On Monday, Vishwas responded to a phone call by asking for an SMS to be sent, but did not reply to the message.

A Delhi state legislator said that Vishwas addressed the volunteers “in his signature style”. “Given the recent tension between KV and the party,” he admitted, “the timing could have been better.”

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 12:24 IST