Even after announcing five lists of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, dissent within the Aam Aadmi Party ranks continues. While party workers have staged demonstrations and sat on hunger strikes in the past, at least 50 AAP volunteers protested outside the party office on Thursday afternoon.
According to the protesters the party should not have given tickets to ‘outsiders’ like Anand Kumar — he is contesting from the Northeast Delhi constituency. Earlier, party workers had opposed the nomination of journalist Ashutosh from Chandni Chowk and Rajmohan Gandhi from East Delhi.
Mehtab, one of the protesters on Thursday, said, “Why didn’t the party select Gopal Rai or Shazia Ilmi as one of the Lok Sabha candidates from Delhi? Not one Muslim candidate has been fielded by the party in Delhi. They have fielded an unknown candidate (Kumar) from Northeast Delhi.”
Incidentally, Shazia Ilmi courted controversy on Twitter recently amid speculation that she would contest against Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli. But Ilmi tweeted that she had never agreed to contest against Gandhi and that she wanted to concentrate on her daughter’s exams. Sources in the AAP said the party leadership had wanted her to take on the Congress president.
Another protester, Mohammad Asif, who claims to be an AAP volunteer from Gokulpuri in Northeast Delhi, said, “Kejriwal had said each person is a CM. But he did not pay any attention to the work done by the AAP volunteers during Delhi elections. We had gone from door to door to mobilise support. The party forgot all this while distributing LS tickets.”
Thursday’s protest was the second such demonstration outside the party headquarters since the AAP started naming its Lok Sabha candidates. Last month, some AAP volunteers had protested against former Delhi Minister Rakhi Birla’s possible candidature for Lok Sabha polls. Volunteers had argued that sitting MLAs should not be given tickets.
Some AAP volunteers had also staged a protest, expressing dissent over Rajmohan Gandhi and Ashutosh’s nomination as AAP’s Lok Sabha candidates from Delhi, outside party convener Arvind Kejriwal’s house on Sunday.
Ashok Agarwal, an advocate and AAP national executive member, had recently quit the party and resigned from all posts citing the lack of democracy within the party. Sources said Agarwal had also sought a ticket from the Chandni Chowk constituency.