NEW DELHI (TIP): The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had received huge support from the NRI community, appears to be in the doldrums in Punjab which had elected all its four MPs in the Lok Sabha elections. The growing resentment among the party MPs against the party leadership has now plunged the party in a serious crisis.
The latest in the series of differences in the party pertaining to its MPs was an outburst by two of them describing the party leadership as immature which was trying to arm twist them for questioning the reorganization of the state unit of the party. While two MPs, Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, have come on record, they claim that they are in touch with another MP Sadhu Singh who endorses their stand. The fourth MP, Bhagwant Mann, is abroad and could not be contacted by them.
Their angry outburst was caused by the decision of the party high command to restructure the state unit of the party without consulting the party MPs. The party’s political affairs in charge for Punjab Sanjay Singh had reorganized the party unit without consulting the MPs.
What has further infuriated the MPs is the `armed twisting tactics’ of the party supreme Arvind Kejriwal. Shortly after two MPs voiced their protest against the restructuring of the state unit of the party, all the four MPs received a text message on their mobiles seeking a report card on their performance.
The text message, sent by the Sanjay Singh late on Thursday, asked the MPs to list within five days their achievements as MPs. The message said that the party president had sought a report from each of the MPs on following three points : 1. How many questions of public interest have you raised in parliament. 2. How have you contributed to the party’s growth in your constituency and 3. What work have you done in your constituency.
The text message led to an angry response by at two MPs, Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa, who also claimed to have spoken and received endorsement from Sadhu Singh. Gandhi said that party’s central leaders were ‘dictatorial’. He said that the order given a day after their meeting resenting the restructure of the party was malafide. Khalsa said he can only “scoff and laugh” at the party’s decision to seek their report card. He said it was like “Gestapo act” to terrorize the MPs. He said the immature act of the party leadership was a childish reaction to their criticism of the reorganization of the party in the state.
While Gandhi had been critical of Kejriwal when the two senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, were expelled from the party, the other three had preferred silence.
The expelled leader Yogendra Yadav has reacted to the developments in Punjab as a natural outcome of the `durbar culture” being practiced by Kejriwal and his supporters.
The rebellion in the party may lead to a serious crisis within the party which was wanting to make a strong bid for the February 2017 assembly elections. The four MPs together represent 36 assembly segments out of a total of 117 and its party candidates had finished second in 25 others assembly segments.
The internal strife within the AAP would be welcomed by the Punjab Congress leaders as well as the SAD-BJP combine who had been expecting a serious contest from the AAP in the 2017 assembly elections. It is high time the AAP leaders pull their act together to present a viable alternative on Punjab. They still retain a lot of goodwill and people are fed up of the ruling coalition on Punjab as well as a divided Congress. AAP has the capability to fill the vacuum but only of stops blundering along.