As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lost yet another MLA to internal differences Monday, with Bawana legislator Ved Prakash switching sides to join the BJP, the party leadership trained its guns at the BJP and accused it of trying to ‘break up and weaken the party.’
Sources said Prakash ignored calls from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal before making an appearance in the BJP office with its state president Manoj Tiwari.
Apart from his stinging allegations against the AAP leadership of being inaccessible to party MLAs, Prakash also fanned rumours of 35 other MLAs being disaffected.
In a firefighting attempt, AAP senior leader Sanjay Singh held fort at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.
He said, “The BJP did the same thing before the 2015 assembly polls and tried poaching our Assembly speaker, MLAs through (BJP leader) Sher Singh Dagar. Vinod Kumar Binny, Rajesh Garg, Ashok Chauhan all were poached by them. But the people of Delhi taught them a lesson by giving them just three seats. Whenever the BJP has tried to break up the party or weaken Arvind Kejriwal, the ‘aam aadmi’ has stood more strongly with us.”
He added, “After our announcement of the house tax waiver, there has been a positive impact across households in the capital. People have seen how AAP brought down power and water bills drastically and now know that if this party comes to power in MCD, they will do away with house tax too. The BJP is absolutely ruffled by this.”
Singh also said, “The BJP has no regard for democracy. They brought down or bypassed a constitutionally-elected governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Now, they are trying to do the same thing in Delhi ahead of the municipal polls. They are set to face the same defeat as in 2015,” Singh added.
As rumours of other AAP MLAs deserting the party grew stronger, Singh produced Kasturba Nagar MLA Madan Lal before the media to clear the air.
“I cannot even think of leaving a party with a leader like Kejriwal. I am very happy in this party, and so are the other MLAs. It is shameful that such falsehood is being spread. I will complain to the Press Council about the news report that said I am leaving the party. No one even checked with me once,” Lal said.
While Prakash’s departure will not affect the party’s dominance in the legislative assembly, it is set to dent AAP’s image ahead of the polls.