Arrest of AAP MLAs: Party finds itself resource-crunched for elections

The count stands at 11 Aam Aadmi Party legislators so far – working out to an average of one MLA arrested per month

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2016 9:10 am
AAP, aam aadmi party, AAP MLA arrest, AAP MLA arrested, arvind kejriwal, punjab election, AAP in punjab, punjab news AAP leader Ashutosh addressing mediapersons in Ahmedabad. (Express photo by Javed Raja)

Even as the Aam Aadmi Party puts up a brave front with its legislators being arrested one after the other, the loss of man days at work has the party deeply worried. The count stands at 11 legislators so far – working out to an average of one MLA arrested per month. While the party is hopeful that by appearing as a ‘victim’ of ‘political vendetta’, it is most likely to better its electoral prospects, what it cannot ignore is the disruption in its governance.

With well-charted plans in the education, health, power and water sectors, the AAP government was inching towards efficient delivery right in its first year. The party was hopeful of going out to the electorate in Delhi before the 2017 municipal polls with a solid report card of its governance.

However as the party stepped up its preparations in poll-bound Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, it has found itself caught up in unforeseen trouble.

Party MLAs, who could have been key resource in the poll-bound states and in the national capital itself, find themselves at the center of a raging storm.

Even as they maintain that the ‘false charges’ and ‘arrests’ fail to intimidate them, legislators complain that now as they meet women constituents in their offices they are over-cautious and on their guard.

Also read: AAP to petition High Court over cases against its MLAs

“The outcome of these false cases will not be good for anyone. It is like ‘crying wolf’. Now when women constituents come to us, the first thought that crosses our mind is ‘could this be someone planted by our political opponents’? Of course this hinders our work and is in a way benefiting the opposition but it is also affecting all our other constituents, who genuinely need help,” said a first-time legislator. “Most of us are not seasoned politicians but have joined politics on goodwill. We tend to trust everyone and go the extra mile for our constituents. That is what makes us different. But the recent spate of incidents has put us on our guard.”

The tension and anxiety is palpable in the party as it grapples with challenges it was least prepared for. But if it rides through this storm, it will go to three states next year with a lot to tell.

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