Days after his birthday bash turned awkward as party adversaries joined in to celebrate the occasion, senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas has ruffled a few feathers within the party yet again. Vishwas’s comments on caste-based reservations brought much embarrassment to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal
at a rally in support of deceased scholar Rohith Vemula last week.
Party volunteers have written to the top leadership to reign in the poet-turned-politician, whose comments in a few recent television interviews were cited as evidence of his deviation from the party line.
Vishwas had told reporters in Ahmedabad last month that the AAP has always been against caste-based reservation and instead wanted it to be replaced by reservation for economically backward classes.
Soon after party spokesperson Sanjay Singh stepped in to clarify that these were Vishwas’ personal views and not the party’s stand, Kejriwal was heckled by a section of the crowd for the anti-reservation statements made by Vishwas during a rally demanding justice for Vemula at Jantar Mantar last week.
Kejriwal has since clarified at least on two occasions that he stands for reservation. On Monday, in a series of tweets, he reiterated his position.
“I have been booked for sedition. I have been raising my voice for Dalits, the poor and backward and hence have been tagged anti-national. I will keep fighting for Dalits, the poor and backward. No one can muzzle my voice,” he said.
In yet another television interview where Vishwas was quizzed on trolling the Prime Minister, he said that the ‘bhakts’ are more bothered than the PM himself.
“I met the Prime Minister recently and he did not say anything… the bhakts might have a problem but if their bhagwan asks me to stop then I will…,” he had said.
His reference to Modi as the bhagwan even in jest has riled the party leadership.
They have been upset with him since his birthday bash where party adversaries — outgoing Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Pankaj Singh (son of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh) and other senior BJP leaders — were in attendance.
Though Vishwas, in his defense, argued that senior leaders from other political parties such as the Congress and CPI were also present, Kejriwal, who dropped out of the bash at the last minute, has remained unconvinced, senior party functionaries told The Indian Express.
Written and verbal complaints have been forwarded by party volunteers to the top leadership citing Vishwas as a “constant source of embarrassment”.
When contacted, Vishwas refused to comment on the issue.