AAP MLA Devinder Sehrawat, whose accusations against Punjab unit in-charge Sanjay Singh and other leaders have triggered a fresh crisis in the party, tells Sweta Dutta that he decided to release his letter in the public domain after his concerns about several issues “fell on deaf ears”.
The AAP has been critical of your letter and Sanjay Singh has said he will file a defamation suit.
Yes, it is outrageous. They are now asking me what my contribution to the party has been. When no one knew these people, I took them around in rural Delhi and helped hold big rallies in Kapashera and Bijwasan. Even when we didn’t have a party symbol, I had made a mark with my work and connected with the people. I contested three elections because they knew I had the potential. I was the AAP candidate who lost by the lowest margin in the 2014 general elections. It was because of us that Sanjay Singh became a big party leader and now he is questioning my contribution and credibility.
Why did you not speak to CM Arvind Kejriwal directly instead of releasing a letter to him in the public domain?
Over the past eight months, I have repeatedly raised several issues within the party about the functioning of the government. I have written several letters… but all of it fell on deaf ears. I pointed out glaring discrepancies in the high-security number plate scheme, informed Arvind Kejriwal about a tehsildar asking for bribes, of an incompetent sub-divisional magistrate posted in my constituency… flagged a Rs 100 crore land scam in Samalkha. None of these were taken seriously, except my concerns about the high-security number plate scheme, when the letter was forwarded to the department concerned. It was time my letter came out in the public domain because the charges are much more serious.
Are you hopeful about action being taken on the basis of your letter?
Instead of taking action against the people who are doing something wrong, they are trying to shoot the messenger. My letter was not timed according to any political schedule. Whether the party takes action or not, it was important for me to draw everyone’s attention to what is going wrong within AAP. I owe it to the people, to the women who are being wronged. It is abuse of power and if I do not raise this issue, how do I expect women who are being exploited to find the strength to come forward and report such cases?
It is being alleged that you are being propped up by the Opposition.
It is being said that I am associated with the Swaraj Abhiyan. The truth is that except for protesting the way Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were escorted out of a meeting and the way they were expelled, I have had nothing to do with them… the manner in which they were treated was wrong. But after that I have never backed them or held press conferences supporting them, contrary to what is being alleged. Instead of calling it political vendetta of the Congress and the BJP, the AAP should come to the point and act on my complaint. Instead of asking me for evidence, they should probe it. I am not here to conduct sting operations.
Some leaders in AAP are saying that if you are disappointed with the party, why are you still with them?
Why should I quit? This party does not belong to anyone’s father. I am not responsible to a handful of people from Ghaziabad (Kejriwal’s erstwhile residence) but to my constituents here. My loyalty is to my people. Why should I stop working for them? If there is something wrong happening in the party, my job is to bring it to the notice of my superior and that is exactly what I have done. It is shameful that someone has to preach all this to a party that emerged from an anti-corruption movement.