Always agitating: Top 10 Aam Aadmi Party controversies

The AAP is known to be combative, but Wednesday’s unprecedented clashes have again put it under spotlight. Here is a look at 10 other events and moments that have made the rookie party’s journey resemble a roller-coaster ride. Kejriwal apologises for violence | AAP donations peak after Kejriwal's detention

india Updated: Mar 07, 2014 00:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Arvind Kejriwal,AAP,Jan Lokpal Bill

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday admitted his party workers had indulged in violence outside the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi a day ago. He apologised on behalf of his party workers and said the AAP would not repeat its mistake.

The AAP is known to be combative, but Wednesday’s unprecedented clashes have again put it under spotlight. Here is a look at 10 other events and moments that have made the rookie party’s journey resemble a roller-coaster ride.

Read:Delhi cops question Ashutosh, Shazia

Somnath Bharti’s midnight raid, Jan 15-16 — The then Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti led a raid on an alleged drug and sex racket involving Ugandan nationals at Khirki Extension in south Delhi.

Bharti’s midnight swoop triggered a stand-off with the police, which refused to conduct an "illegal" raid in the absence of a warrant. Later, charges of racism flew thick and fast.

Now, many Africans have left the area. Bharti maintains only criminals have left and those living in the area for legitimate reasons remain. He says locals have, in fact, "shown trust in me".

A judicial probe report into the midnight raid has virtually given a clean chit to the Malviya Nagar police and blamed Bharti for creating the controversy.

Related:AAP releases videos of raid night in Bharti's defence

Kejriwal government’s protest for control over Delhi Police, Jan 20-21 — The then chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, led a sit-in protest for state government control over the Delhi Police — which is under the Union home ministry — and police reforms.

Calling himself an anarchist, he said the fight was for women’s safety and called a 10-day protest demanding action against police officials who had refused to conduct the raid at Khirki Extension on Bharti’s directions.

He also wanted action against the police over the gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish woman in central Delhi.

Kejriwal’s protest led to traffic snarls across the Capital and also saw authorities shut four Metro stations. Kejriwal called off the protest on the second day, saying police officials whose suspension the AAP had demanded "are being sent on leave pending a judicial inquiry into the matter of negligence".

Related:Kejriwal's road rage jolts aam aadmi; stir against cops could disrupt R-Day celebrations

Prashant Bhushan’s referendum comment on Kashmir, Jan 5-6 — The AAP distanced itself from the remarks of party leader Prashant Bhushan that a referendum should be carried out in Kashmir before deployment of the army to deal with internal security threats in the valley.

Kejriwal described Bhushan’s comments as his personal view and added there was "no question of a referendum" on the issue. "Deployment of the army within the country should be decided on basis of internal security threat."

Bhushan also clarified, saying he believed Kashmir is an integral part of India. "Any reference to referendum should not be misconstrued to mean plebiscite on Kashmir’s relationship with India."

Related : Prashant Bhushan, AAP and the forbidden K-word

Break the law, get 50% power bill waiver, Feb 12
— In power, the AAP decided to reward those consumers who had refused to pay power bills on its request during its agitation against alleged inflated electricity and water bills.

Under the plan, consumers who refused payments from October 2012 and May 2013 — the period of the agitation — would shell out only 50% of the pending amounts and also not be penalised, the then Kejriwal government announced.

The decision was to benefit 24,036 people and cost the government Rs 6 crore.

The Kejriwal government quit on February 14.

On February 21, Delhi high court stayed operation of the Delhi cabinet’s February 12 decision on 50% waiver on power arrears.

The next hearing is on March 18.

Related : Delhi: Break the law, get 50% power bill waiver

RInfra files Rs 100-cr defamation suit against AAP in HC, March 4 — Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit in Bombay high court against the AAP, which alleged the power company had overcharged consumers in collusion with Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Anil Ambani’s elder brother Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, has also come under attack from the AAP, especially Kejriwal.

The former Delhi CM has accused the Congress and the BJP of having a "setting" with the businessman. The word "setting" used in this context by Kejriwal is a typical Indianism for an understanding on the sly.

Kejriwal has been targeting Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its chairperson Mukesh Ambani over the government’s decision to raise natural gas prices from April 1. According to Kejriwal, this is being done to benefit the businessman.

He has also accused Ambani of stashing money in illegitimate accounts aboard. RIL has dismissed his allegations.

Related : RInfra filesRs.100 cr defamation suit against AAP

Bharti’s spit remark, Jan 20 — Embarrassed by Bharti's remarks against advocate Harish Salve and BJP leader Arun Jaitley, the AAP ordered him to mind his language. Bharti kicked up a storm by saying he wanted to spit on the faces of Jaitley and Salve after they criticised his Khriki Extension midnight raid.

Bharti also asked mediapersons if they were paid by BJP leader Narendra Modi for defaming him and his party. After his words evoked a sharp response from Arvind Kejriwal and the BJP, Bharti apologised, saying, "I did not mean to say that. I apologise if I have hurt someone."

Related : Act against Somnath Bharti: AAP to Delhi CM Kejriwal

AAP leaders in sting operation, Nov 21, 2013 — A sting operation by Media Sarkar claimed several AAP leaders including Shazia Ilmi and Kumar Vishwas were willing to accept donations in cash for the party for extending their help in recovering money from individuals and getting land deals done.

The sting surfaced ahead of the Delhi assembly polls. Kejriwal dismissed the claims in the sting operation as a conspiracy against the AAP, but said the party would not compromise on the issue of corruption. The AAP also said the tapes were doctored.

Related : 'Sting operation against AAP leaders: conspiracy'

Chaos at janata darbar, Jan 11 — A 7,000-strong crowd stormed the Kejriwal government’s first janata darbar, bringing down security barricades and jostling with an outnumbered police force to meet the CM.

Kejriwal, who wanted to take governance to the people and hear their grievance first-hand, was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

Kejriwal’s decision to take his cabinet outside the secretariat was termed populist by critics.

Following the chaos, Kejriwal admitted the arrangements were not adequate and he left the venue to avoid a stampede-like situation.

Related : Aam aadmi spoils Kejriwal’s party, chaos in darbar

AAP expels MLA Binny, Jan 26 — The AAP expelled legislator Vinod Kumar Binny who was making life uncomfortable for the party soon after the success in the Delhi assembly polls. First, there were rumbles when Kejriwal did not make him a minister.

Prior to his expulsion, Binny had described Kejriwal as an autocrat. Kejriwal had responded, saying Binny had come to his house seeking a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls from East Delhi.

In a web poll conducted by HT asking readers whether such infighting had hit the AAP’s image of being the party ‘with a difference’, more than 53% of 7,597 respondents said, "Yes." Related : Binny gives Kejriwal govt 48-hr to meet demands

Government gone in 49 days, Feb 14 — Kejriwal pulled the plug on his own government over its failure to table the flagship janlokpal bill in the Delhi assembly.

Delhiites had given the debutant AAP a stunning 28 seats in the assembly polls. In web polls conducted by HT immediately after Kejriwal’s resignation, thousands expressed disappointment even as many others looked ahead to the bigger picture — the Lok Sabha polls.

Related : What Kejriwal's govt achieved in its 49 days

Latest: AAP-BJP clash: Delhi cops question Ashutosh, Shazia Ilmi

First Published: Mar 06, 2014 19:11 IST