High drama unfolded outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house on Friday, with the mother of former AAP member Santosh Koli — who died in an accident in 2013 — and her supporters demanding that she be given the Rajya Sabha ticket instead of either N D Gupta or Sushil Gupta. She also made calls to party MLAs from outside the house, asking them to support her. She was later detained by police, without getting to meet the CM.
The idea to nominate her was first floated by suspended AAP member and former minister Kapil Mishra, who said she had the support of Shalimar Bagh MLA Bandana Kumari. He later said Kumari was pressured by the party leadership into withdrawing her support.
Kumari, however, said she was an AAP member and supported the party’s picks. “Main party ke saath hoon aur party ka faisla mera faisla hai. Party ke baaghi log apni zubaan pe kaabu rakhein (I am with the party and its decision is my decision. Rebel party members should keep their words in check),” she tweeted.
Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said Mishra was using Koli to further his agenda. “She is a poor woman being used by Kapil. If he wants her to be a representative, why doesn’t he resign from the party? We will give her a ticket from his constituency (Karawal Nagar),” he said.
Meanwhile, senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas hit back at Gopal Rai for saying that he tried to “break the party” after the losses in Punjab assembly polls and the MCD elections.
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Denying the allegations, Vishwas said, “Rai has woken up from his ‘Kumbhakarni’ slumber after seven months. Even the party has disowned his allegations. Actually, the Sivagami Devi of this ‘Mahishmati’ (AAP) is someone else,” he said. He was referring to the character of a Sivagami Devi in the popular film Baahubali.
Vishwas also said he had campaigned for Rai in Babbarpur before the 2015 assembly elections. “He can now take the help of Sushil Gupta for campaigning,” he said. “With Gupta’s help, Rai can become the Prime Minister. In fact, Kim Jong-un has been troubling everyone. Rai can even become the UN secretary general.”
The party, however, said it had not distanced itself from Rai’s statements, made on Thursday. “The statements were made from the party’s platform. Where does the question of distancing from them arise? Sanjay Singh has merely said that any misunderstanding that Vishwas has can be talked through…” Bhardwaj said.