‘Dear Arvind Kejriwal, our own volunteers voted against us in MCD elections… here’s why’

Aam Aadmi Party can still be a game changer, provided we stick to the idealism for which we came into politics.

Written by Dr Munish Raizada | Published:May 1, 2017 1:43 pm
Arvind Kejriwal, AAP, AAP Chief Kejriwal, MCD elections, MCD results, AAP MCD results, AAP volunteers, AAP MCD loss, news, kejriwal, kejriwal defeat AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Dear Arvind,

Your message via Twitter after the defeat in the MCD elections shows your reflective mood: “The reality is obvious. Yes, we made mistakes, but we will introspect and course correct.” And you add: “The people deserve nothing less. The only thing constant is change.”

After months of brutal attacks on PM Narendra Modi and weeks of incessant attack on an otherwise earnest stroke of demonetisation followed by an orgy on EVMs, these words indicate a pensive state of affairs on your part. You stopped short of sorry.

I am reminded of the same sorry to the public and volunteers after our party’s abysmal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, too.

What happened in Punjab and Delhi is not surprising. The anger, frustration, and a feeling of being duped had been building up among the Delhi public over the past two years. We came to power in Delhi with a promise of “Paanch Saal Kejriwal”, but Delhi public soon realised that the CM and the MLAs were busy propping up the party in other states. Naturally, the Delhi voters cast their verdict by abandoning us in MCD elections.

The same applies to party workers, too. After the Punjab assembly election results on March 11, I have been interacting with volunteers in Delhi on the ground. Our steadfast, committed volunteers were in the same boat — confused and disoriented — but was anyone available to listen to them and address the concerns?

After the apology of Lok Sabha elections, volunteers were promised a fair game in meetings at Constitution Club. They rallied behind you, toiled hard to get you 67 seats, but as soon as we got the victory, the attitude started changing.

In the last two years, the party has transformed into a private enterprise. You and the coterie you chose to surround yourself with have purposefully killed the very principles for which AAP was formed. I have no hesitation in saying that you did it so that your private club called AAP can ruthlessly concentrate power and pursue your design. Where were you in last several months when your own party’s volunteers and supporters were making fervent appeals to you for Chande kee paardarshita (restoration of donations online)? What has ‘forced’ you to hide public’s hard earned Chanda (donations) given to AAP while the party claims itself as a champion of politics of clean money?

Is it not a farce? How can we even talk of fighting corruption, when we are not willing to keep our accounts transparent?

Similarly, where were you when your own original volunteers in small or large groups were made to wait outside your residence over the last several weeks with complaints and concerns over ticket distribution, and allegations of ticket selling in MCD elections? They were largely unable to meet you. The women wing of Delhi –which propped up our party- today stands scattered despite 50 per cent seats being reserved for them in MCD elections. When it came to ticket distribution, women wing’s members were largely bypassed. There is widespread resentment in volunteers that tickets were sold and nepotism was widely practiced through dummy candidates. My question to you: In a largely volunteer-driven party, why did you mercilessly kill the concept of Swaraj (inner party democracy), despite our party claiming that “Satta neeche se upar aayegi?” On top of it, due to a dysfunctional internal Lokpal system, the complainants had no meaningful way to get their grievances resolved.

I can give you one very true feedback, which your coterie will never tell you. Volunteers of our own party played a significant role – albeit that energy might have been in a scattered manner- in defeating our own party in MCD elections. Some opposed, some chose to sit quite, some supported other candidates and some did Satyagraha, but they did what they could to register their protest to silencing of the principles for which AAP was created.

But, Arvind, four years down the lane, I am not inclined to listen to your usual farcical apology.

If you really mean ‘by going back to the drawing board’, then you must restore the three founding principles immediately because they constitute the original drawing board: Make donations public, set up Swaraj in an earnest manner, and create an ‘independent’ Internal Lokpal.

The cleaning process must start from you because that is where the rot has accumulated. As you said, the need is action and not excuses. True, that is why rather than ceremonial resignations of a few ‘leaders’ around you, must not they exit from PAC and NEC too? In last four years, the satta has revolved around a few chosen ones with often responsibilities changing as in musical chair game. Now, even the remotely sitting volunteer can see through that.

The buck starts with you and it stops with you. As a first step, are you willing to shed multiple responsibilities that you have accumulated around you? Let us start earnestly with our often-preached principle of one person: one post!

Aam Aadmi Party can still be a game changer, provided we stick to the idealism for which we came into politics. That will require statesmanship on your part, and not the politics of insecurity, gagging, manipulations and mudslinging that we have increasingly seen in the last two years.

- The author is a suspended member of Aam Aadmi Party and ex-co- convener of NRI cell of the party. He is convener of Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against AAP. Twitter @DrMunishRaizada

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      1. G
        Ganesh G
        May 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm
        Another aggrieved Sugreev
        Reply
        1. H
          Hanuman
          May 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm
          The piece shows more what is wrong with the "followers" of Kejriwal than what is wrong with Kejriwal himself. When Raizada says "The buck starts with you and it stops with you", and at the same time also says , "But, Arvind, four years down the lane, I am not inclined to listen to your usual farcical apology", it shows the political bankruptcy of the so-called anti-corruption movement of the new rich working NRI young of India. Do you trust or not trust your chosen TV-anointed hero? The fact is that these NRIs want to showcase a Europe-like India to the USA, and therefore want to outsource this task to someone fighting on the streets of India, promising money. Perhaps without their money, Kejriwal would have remained what he had been -- a fighter NGO. Better. Now he has become a political clown with a lot of self-righteousness. Yet, the NRIs are still asking him to apply for their ISO certification! You went out of the country to better future, then live there happily. Leave us alone.
          Reply
          1. R
            RS
            May 5, 2017 at 1:51 am
            All of what you have said has some merit. But to dismiss medd with the EVMs is just naive, It is with 99 certainty that the EVMs have been mani-pu-lated though the use of malicious software to declare BJP the winner in UP and Delhi. If you cannot grasp this then you need to look for another profession than analyzing what AAP did wrong. I am not defending Kejriwal or AAP, Personally I would like to see Kejriwal removed from his position within the party. But those that are attacking him are also missing the obvious. It is the EVMs, EVMs, EVMs.
            Reply
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              Math
              May 6, 2017 at 9:12 am
              There is no significant software in the EVMs as these leaders have u believe. At best some firmware. Why would BJP get only 36 votes and yet ac ulate so many seats. Do you think any piece of software can be so accurately manipulated ?
              Reply
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              1. R
                rajan
                May 4, 2017 at 2:18 pm
                The name of the donors may have been withheld for protecting them from harassment by the Modi government. Yet it shouldn't be the reason to conceal their iden y. The first thing that needs to be done is to bring the eminent faces of Prashanth Bhushan& Yadav back into the party in an honourable way. Revoke the suspension of Dharamveer Ga-nd-hi. Shed egos & pay heed to the devoted workers
                Reply
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                  Naresh Kumar Batchu
                  May 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm
                  Bewakuf, no one should afraid for giving Chanda to PaaP party, unless its through dubious source. Just because you give Chanda to Paap party, you will not become saint and you should not fear if you havent done anything wrong.
                  Reply
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                  Lokesh Madan
                  May 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm
                  1. Donations are pulled off the website due to raids by IT dept. anyways, in comparison to other parties like BJP, the amount in miniscule - so not a issue that can be adressed at the moment because of the aggressive and vindictive nature of Pradhan Sewak. 2. Yes - some points mentioned are correct and expected to be taken care of. 3. Volunteer base of AAP is also no comparison to cadre of BJP - no doubt. It is fence sitters who believed the PR machinery that election was a referendum and not anti-in bency.
                  Reply
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                    Math
                    May 6, 2017 at 9:17 am
                    If volunteer base of AAP is miniscule compared to the BJP, how did they win 67 seats ? People have rejected Kejriwal due to the negative campaign and irreverent things Kejriwal has said about anything that comes in his way to becoming the PM. We all had hopes, but I will never vote for Kejriwal or AAP ever. The election was not a referendum for the BJP... It was a total rejection of Kejriwal and hence, AAP.
                    Reply
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                      Naresh Kumar Batchu
                      May 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm
                      Bewakuf, no one should afraid for giving Chanda to PaaP party, unless its through dubious source. Just because you give Chanda to Paap party, you will not become saint and you should not fear if you havent done anything wrong.
                      Reply
                      1. N
                        Naresh Kumar Batchu
                        May 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm
                        Bewakuf, no one should afraid for giving Chanda to PaaP party, unless its through dubious source. Just because you give Chanda to Paap party, you will not become saint and you should not fear if you havent done anything wrong.
                        Reply
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