All is not well with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party


Can a single name change politics?
The people drawn to Aam Aadmi
Party chief Arvind Kejriwal
certainly believe so. Nothing, not
even slippages in the party’s
journey, makes them lose their
faith in Kejriwal.
AAP has been busy deciding its
candidates for 70 assembly
constituencies; in Delhi, only five
are yet to be announced. This
week, the party’s volunteers from
the Sultanpuri constituency were
scheduled to select the candidate
from five short-listed names.
However, while the party office had
a list of active volunteers from the
area, the names of many of those
who arrived for voting weren’t
present on the list. In fact there
were two lists — one maintained by
the area coordinator and another
by the party office and the two
didn’t tally.
The names of many Right to
Information activists, as well as
those who claimed to have been
available at the beck and call of the
party for protests and agitations,
were absent from the list.
Showing a wound on his wrist, one
claimed this had resulted while
fixing power connections. While his
name was included, his fellow
volunteers weren’t. A teacher was
included in the list, though he was
upset the names of many
volunteers brought by him weren’t.
Along with others, he questioned
the party’s claims of transparency.
Some were planning to campaign
across the constituency, asking
people about their right to reject
all candidates.
The party’s list of woes didn’t end
To keep track of active volunteers,
each seat has one or two
coordinators. A coordinator not
only accused the party of ignoring
his list, but also of allowing
volunteers handpicked by a certain
candidate to be included, while
keeping the others out.
Some alleged a TV channel had
already announced the name of a
candidate, despite the fact that
voting hadn’t begun.
A businessman from Sultanpuri,
said, “We are being cheated. Our
Congress Member of Legislative
Assembly Jaikishan is much better
— at least we know we are being
cheated. But here, we are being
exploited by a party that has
promised to end all exploitation.”
AAP workers in the party office at
Kaushambi, including a former
journalist and a bank employee,
sought to soothe nerves.
“This happens at every meeting of
volunteers. We have to verify
whether those claiming to be
volunteers are from rival parties…
If they have received mobile
messages, we would let them vote,”
they say.
But many haven’t received such
messages. A volunteer whose name
was excluded, said, “To campaign, I
used to go house to house till late
in the night; now, my name is not
Another coordinator in Sultanpuri,
realised his name wasn’t included
in the list. “When there are
agitations, all of us get messages.
But now, when it is our turn to
vote, we get none,” he says.
Would the disgruntled volunteers
and coordinators quit? “Why
should the party suffer for the
mistakes within?” asks a volunteer.
He, however, ominously adds, “If
wrong candidates are foisted on us,
we will ask people to use the right
to reject, rather than vote for any
of them.”
Another volunteer says, “When
genuine volunteers and old
volunteers are excluded, it will
reflect on the party’s health.”


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