AAP founder member and former Union law minister Shanti Bhushan became the latest in a string of party supporters and members to question the functioning of AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday. He said the former Delhi chief minister was politically immature and lacked “organisational ability”.
While senior AAP leader Shazia Ilmi quit the party, alleging that a coterie made all the decisions, party ideologue Yogendra Yadav wrote a letter in June, which said the party was moving towards a “personality cult”.
In an interview to television channel NewsX, Bhushan said, “There are many people who are differing with Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of taking decisions. They feel that a much larger group of people must be taken into confidence when taking decisions and these should not be confined. I attribute it to the political immaturity and political inexperience of Kejriwal. While Kejriwal is a great campaigner and an asset for the party, he must recognise that he lacks certain qualities. He lacks the quality to organise the party on an all-India level, to create sense on issues with experts and formulate policy on issues. The identity of a party is its views on issues. If you hesitate on articulating the party’s position on issues, you are coming in the way of the party spreading throughout Delhi. He is well-intentioned but lacks political maturity.”
In another interview to TimesNow, Bhushan said Kejriwal lacked the competence that could spread the party’s message across India. “He lacks the competence which can quickly create elected structures of the party, which nobody will be able to blame. Therefore, this delay of about two years in getting the elected structure in place is a great handicap, which is resulting in different voices. Now today, since he does not owe his position as an elected person by the all-India members of the party, one cannot say his is the sole voice of the party. What I have said is that he should reorganise the party and share the responsibility with someone else, who has the talent and the skill to organise. He should remain the face and chief campaigner of the party,” Bhushan said.
In a strong response, the AAP said, “The party does not agree with the comments made by Shanti Bhushan on some TV channels. This political party was formed on the basic principle of internal democracy and tries its best to adhere to it at all levels. The criticism by Bhushan, who is himself one of the founding members of the party, on this issue is misplaced. The biggest example of internal democracy is the party’s decision to contest the Lok Sabha elections on a large number of seats, despite opposition from Kejriwal. The AAP was formed less than two years ago and is still in the evolving process. Many of the organisational concerns are being addressed as part of the ongoing developmental process.”
Senior party leader Ashutosh said, “We are the only party with inner-party democracy and it is unfortunate that these comments have been aired publicly. The AAP is fully with Kejriwal. Bhushan, who is a respected leader for us, wanted the party to contest elections in Haryana, but the decision against it was the decision of the PAC and the National Executive.” ‘Will you quit again’, Page 2