Debate in AAP: Always targeting Modi may be backfiring on party?

While sacked minister Kapil Mishra alleged corruption on the part of Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas has been accused by a suspended AAP MLA of being an “RSS plant” in the party.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: May 11, 2017 8:23 am
Arvind Kejriwal, aam aadmi party, aap, aap narendra modi, narendra modi kejriwal, kejriwal modi, kapil mishra aap, India news, Indian Express Arvind Kejriwal outside his residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Source: Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

PUSHED to the wall after successive electoral reversals in Punjab and Delhi, there is a growing debate in the top echelons of the Aam Aadmi Party over its aggressive posturing against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party top brass is asking whether its decision to directly and regularly attack the PM has yielded it the political dividend it desired.

Top sources in the party told The Indian Express Wednesday that instead of an individual (Modi), the party is looking at re-calibrating its politics to focus on issues and rally Opposition parties around them. These sources said there’s also a realisation that the party needs to hunker down and focus on Delhi rather than script ambitious expansion plans. To that effect, sources said, AAP is not likely to contest polls in Gujarat even if it’s put in a lot of energy and resources there.

This rethink comes amid infighting that has wracked the party. While sacked minister Kapil Mishra alleged corruption on the part of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas has been accused by a suspended AAP MLA of being an “RSS plant” in the party. Although the party leadership believes that tampered EVMs plaued a crucial role in its defeat and it will continue to flag the issue — as it did in the Assembly yesterday — it is also of the view that targeting the PM is backfiring because the “pro-Modi sentiment” is so strong that no accusation sticks, sources said.

“The CM went around the country holding rallies on charges of corruption alleged against Modi in the Sahara-Birla case. There was support from the people then. But after Uttar Pradesh, things have changed. It has backfired. Wherever we go, people ask why are you attacking Modiji,” a source close to Kejriwal told The Indian Express. The need to refocus on Delhi is also necessitated by the fact, sources said, that the party’s funds are dwindling. “It (the financial pipeline) is being choked.

Anyone who donates is being questioned by the Income Tax department. Our foreign funding has been investigated once and cleared, now a fresh notice has been sent,” the source said. Such notices, however, were sent to all parties, a Home Ministry official had said yesterday.

Sources said the party is also likely to tone down its constant refrain that the Centre isn’t allowing it to work. “The Modi government has used every trick in the book to stop us from delivering on our promises. But bravado and aggression in administration are not acceptable to people. They want us to deliver,” the source said.

AAP leaders complain that few bureaucrats in Delhi are on the same page as them. “The CBI action against Rajendra Kumar (former principal secretary to the CM) and Tarun Seem (former Delhi Health Secretary) has sent a clear message. All bureaucrats are directly reporting to the Lieutenant Governor. The state government can’t even transfer a peon. If the Supreme Court upholds the HC verdict, there will be no point fighting the next Delhi polls,” a source said.

The party is also not very enthusiastic about a united opposition taking on the BJP in 2019. “Today, the situation is such that if everyone comes together openly against Modi, people’s sympathy will swing towards him. People will say, look how everyone has come together to defeat the man who is trying to do something for the country,” another source close to Kejriwal said.

The party, however, is ready to bring different parties on one platform. “The idea is to fight the government on issues. Different parties can come together and raise an issue that affects the people. That is something the public will appreciate,” he said. On infighting within, a source said the party believes the BJP is behind it. “They are trying to prop up factions and leaders within the party. These leaders are calling MLAs home and telling them that a new CM is going to take over. They are trying to scare the MLAs,” said the source.

Sources denied the allegations of corruption. Mishra submitted three complaints to the CBI on alleged exchange of Rs 2 crore between Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendra Jain; a Rs 50-crore land deal allegedly arranged for the CM’s brother-in-law; and about five AAP leaders’ use of party funds on foreign trips.

“Allegations of bribery against the CM are unthinkable. Had Kapil Mishra been present during the alleged exchange, CCTV would have caught his movement. There is evidence of him being present elsewhere. There is no truth in the Rs 50-crore land deal allegation and only one party member, Sanjay Singh, had travelled abroad on party expenses to raise funds for the party,” said the source. He also said that Mishra was removed as a minister because MLAs had complained against him about poor management of water in many areas of Delhi.

He said the party had investigated the allegations against Jain who faces a CBI preliminary enquiry for alleged hawala transactions. “Two people, who the CBI said were fronts for Jain, are rich businessmen. It’s their transactions that are under probe. People make their drivers as fronts, not rich businessmen,” the source said.

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  1. R
    Raj
    May 12, 2017 at 3:07 am
    This guy though thinks that the duty of CM is to criticize MODI on personal level. He has no clue about administration, he behaves like a lose gun, accuses people without thinking or proper proof and now one of his own people paid him in the same coin. He has negative energy people should avoid him like a plague.
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    1. L
      L bhadrapati Devi
      May 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm
      AAP has invented a honesty measuring scale. Arvind has the Patent right of honesty measuring scale. More honest mean talking ill of sincere opponent like giving corruption charge against any public figure. By the way, Kapil Mishra must be more honest because his corruption charge against God of honesty Arvind has more valid points. Kapil has the Kundali of Arvind Kejriwal.
      Reply
      1. M
        mohan
        May 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm
        No lament for a man who doesnt know how to address the Prime Minister&other high functionaries.He has used highly derogatory words for the P.M.He is a CM of a tiny state ,a shade better than a muni l corporation.Recollect the words used ,unworthy of a CM&an Ex IRS officer IRS lot of discipline&respect for seniors&the dignitries of the country is taught.See this Khujliwal.He says Modiji aapko nahin malum hay ki aapne kissay panga liya hein mai us mitti ka bana who mai eint say eint baja doonga.Is it language of a zahil or an educated man.The main cause of his failure is that he doesnot know the ABC of administration&has refused to learn it.Many a times he has said that he is a baniya&knows how to a/c&extract money.What is being alleged by his adversiers is the outcome of his inbuilt character traits.Wait for the remaining term of embly,you will find him loitering on the streets Delhi.Howsoever, we may wish good luck to him,it is not going to work.
        Reply
        1. R
          Rishi
          May 11, 2017 at 12:55 pm
          AAP is on the brink of imploding. The autocratic behaviour of the CM, his unfounded allegations and shoot & scoot policy has brought the party to this point. Power may be the only glue which can prevent this. God forbid if he gets convicted in one of many court cases, that will be the end of AAP.
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          1. I
            indian man
            May 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm
            Now time to reply Is-lam converted Mamata Banerjee.
            Reply
            1. K
              K.Suresh
              May 11, 2017 at 11:01 am
              Lament of AAP : - Modi government was not allowing our government to work. - Then it used every trick in the book to stop us from delivering on our promises. - Now it is not even allowing AAP to be non-corrupt.
              Reply
              1. A
                Aadis
                May 11, 2017 at 11:01 am
                Corruption Crim_nals BJP(RSS)
                Reply
                1. K
                  K.Suresh
                  May 11, 2017 at 10:56 am
                  >> "..party leadership believes that tampered EVMs plaued a crucial role in its defeat" NO. It is the incessant "allegation of tampered EVMs" that did AAP in. >> "targeting the PM is backfiring because the 'pro-Modi sentiment' is so strong that no accusation sticks" NO. Pro-Modi sentiment is strong BECAUSE no accusation sticks.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Manohar Sharma
                    May 11, 2017 at 10:40 am
                    W Nation love Modi.
                    Reply
                    1. L
                      L bhadrapati Devi
                      May 11, 2017 at 10:36 am
                      Patriotic, sincere and hard working Modi is love by everybody. Attacking Modi by a frog a well to blow to the size of elephant has blown himself. His own MLAs and party members are attacking him regularly. His own credibility is severely affected when he attack national leader Modi. The charisma of Modi is so strong in the public that anything against Modi is interpreted as anti-National.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Rajeev Desai
                        May 11, 2017 at 10:32 am
                        Unless the top 5 or 6,or even the top ten are severely punished -- by the people who actually voted them to power and then possibly by the law, there is no future for this paaapi party. Blame the right people instead of finding scapegoats for the crimes done by the top, including AK.... or GT.H, nobody cares ---- now.
                        Reply
                        1. T
                          TIHAEwale
                          May 11, 2017 at 9:56 am
                          now no can save Akela Arvind after it has become public that he and Satyendra both cheated the Govt through unjust enrichment . now if Feku56 gets Akela Arvind arrested by CBI no tears will be shed for Akela Arvind
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            Selvi
                            May 11, 2017 at 9:48 am
                            Finally Kejriwal got the message. There is no use in showing unnecessary hatred towards Modiji. People love Modiji.
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              Amit
                              May 11, 2017 at 9:31 am
                              This source seems to be sent by Modi ji, just like many of the AAP representatives on TV debates. AAP is not there to be subservient to the hate and crony politics of Modi ji. AAP should finish itself before being subservient. The message to the people should be clear. Either vote for AAP or vote for Modi ji.
                              Reply
                              1. I
                                Indian
                                May 11, 2017 at 9:08 am
                                There is definitely room for AAP in the national politics. For the time being however, it needs to focus solely on Delhi and try its best to deliver on its promises. BJP is corrupt for sure. Corruption is so deep-seated that people doesn't have much expectation from them, and even if they deliver little bit, people consider it as a substantial work done. In M.P., mining mafia is playing havoc with the rivers and the natural resources but the state administration remains a silent spectator to this loot. AAP is also nowhere to be seen in M.P.; they seldom raise voice for the issues that really matters to the public. It would be best for them to not contest the 2018 embly elections in M.P. even if BJP comes back to power for the fourth consecutive time.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  rajan
                                  May 11, 2017 at 9:32 am
                                  Are you the same Ind-ian, who was singing paens of Modi a year & a half back & trying to convince others about his greatness through your posts in these columns. I am not sure. If yes, you definitely seem to be evolving with Modi's shallowness becoming more and more obvious with every passing day.
                                  Reply
                                2. V
                                  vs
                                  May 11, 2017 at 9:06 am
                                  IE is the only paper publishing unwanted news of AAP.Nobody is interested in this party of thieves and jokers.They are doing tremendous harm to the country.IE always being anti national projects such people. Stop this.
                                  Reply
                                  1. R
                                    rajan
                                    May 11, 2017 at 8:56 am
                                    Unfortunately, the Monstrous Modi is projected as NaMo, a little tin god.
                                    Reply
                                    1. N
                                      Nishant
                                      May 11, 2017 at 8:52 am
                                      Now they are trying to apply butter to Modi, so that he/BJP may not order tough legal action them.
                                      Reply
                                      1. R
                                        rajan
                                        May 11, 2017 at 9:38 am
                                        What a megalomania! What a way of massaging your tin god's inflated ego. No harm in nurturing Wishful thinking.
                                        Reply
                                      2. P
                                        PRAVEEN JAIMAN
                                        May 11, 2017 at 6:31 am
                                        Still APP is fai to nail down the real reason. It is NON-PERFORMANCE and DRAMA-DRAMA on regular basis. Person do not appreciate it for long. Work and only work without blame games or regular drama and see how your vote percentage will again improve. Congress is down and it is the best time to fill the void bur you APP are just making only noise.
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          rajan
                                          May 11, 2017 at 9:11 am
                                          Nobody can deny that AAP is the hope of millions & has to deliver yet if performance was to be the parameter of success in elections, BJP should have got the drubbing of it's lifetime in Muni l Elections in Delhi. Strategies& cunning win you elections with our selfie obsessed youth totally besotted with their little tin god. Our ignorant electorate simply doesn't have the capacity to see through the polarising game that BJP has successfully pla & divided the nation on caste and Communal lines in the garb of development rhetoric.
                                          Reply
                                          1. L
                                            L bhadrapati Devi
                                            May 11, 2017 at 10:44 am
                                            BJP and Sanga Paribar promote Indian nationalism based on Hindu nationalism just like Indian Independent Movement where Maharan Pratap and Sivaji as the symbol of Indian nationalism. Now, BJP want to reduce problem of caste divide by strong Hindu nationalism. According to the changing political dynamic, Modi present focus is economic development of all communities under the good governance. He translates into action. So, people love and accept him leader. Arvind since he came to power, he has been looting public property since medical bill to occupying CM Quarter which he promised not to get. Morning shows the day of Arvind political career as greedy politician.
                                            1. S
                                              SR
                                              May 11, 2017 at 11:38 am
                                              Yawnnnnnn !!!!!
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