By Yatharth Mishra:
The Aam Aadmi Party was born with a pledged commitment towards democracy and transparency. Its core ideology revolved around curbing corruption and establishing ‘Swaraj’. Since its formation, the AAP has proclaimed to be the only party that involves the people’s consent in the decision making process. It has always enjoyed the support of the intellectual class of our country. People have seen it as a hope; they have put their faith in it and served it wholeheartedly.
Sadly, today the case is not the same. If the recent developments are any indication, then the party, which was perceived to be different and cashed in on this perception, now seems to be no different from its counterparts. Since the last month, a tussle has been going on amongst the senior leaders of the party. On one side Arvind Kejriwal, the party’s national convener, with his coterie, accusing others of anti-party activities, while on the other side Yogender Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, two of the AAP’s very senior and respected leaders, questioning the autocracy of Arvind Kejriwal – these are the two camps in the AAP.
Yesterday the fight turned ugly, when four of the party founding members, including Yadav and Bhushan were thrown out of the national executive body of the party. This shows that Arvind Kejriwal seriously lacks the leadership skills necessary to run a party. His autocratic style of functioning could work in an ‘Andolan’ but it can’t work in a political party. Today, he is the Chief Minister of Delhi and enjoys the support of a majority of the volunteers, but that is not enough for him.
If we go by the trends in the social media, then many of the volunteers and supporters of the AAP are angry with the way Arvind has handled this matter. Many of them are standing behind Yadav and Bhushan. This clearly indicates that the party is on the verge of getting divided.
In my opinion, Arvind Kejriwal thinks that he can work well in Delhi and gain lost ground. It is true that people have a weak memory and party infighting is not an issue directly related to them. But, here things are different. What happened in the last few days has just shattered the credibility of Arvind Kejriwal as a leader. Today’s politics is all about perception and now, AAP seems to be similar to all the parties which were accused by them of autocracy and a lack of internal democracy.
From my assessment of the current situation, it is clear that the Yadav-Bhushan camp wants to keep principles on the upper side rather than just winning the elections, and on the other side, Kejriwal thinks that politics is all about winning the elections. For any other party, Kejriwal’s view seems to be right, but that is not the case with the AAP. This party was never formed to become another ‘election winning machine’ , in fact, it came into existence to change the rules of politics and make it clean and transparent.
Arvind Kejriwal has to understand that the AAP has just won Delhi for now, and there is a long way to go if he really wishes to see a corruption free and a well developed India. In his very first speech after becoming the CM of Delhi, he signaled that he wanted to focus on Delhi for now and turn it into a model state. Theoretically, it seems to be the easiest way to grow into a big party instantly, but in reality this is not easy. In a diverse county like India, winning the main elections on the basis of work done in some other state is not an easy task.
This is the time when Arvind Kejriwal should start building leaders in the other states as well and act like a leader, who is ready to work with people having a different point of view. It would have been much better if the Kejriwal camp could have answered the questions raised by Yadav and Bhushan, before kicking them out from the top decision making body of the party. This has proved that the questions raised by them have shaken kejriwal. And if the issues raised by these questions are not rectified quickly, then in the coming times the AAP will suffer because of this.