The UK unit of the AAP has decided to donate Rs 5 crore to the party if the leadership makes public the unedited footage of the recent National Council meet in Delhi where rebel leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were ousted.
The move assumes significance in the wake of the fact that Yadav is expected to hold his Swaraj Samwad for his supporters within the party on Tuesday. However, according to supporters, immediately after the statement was made public, the AAP removed the link to its UK arm from the party website.
The meeting, held in East London on Friday, was attended by the party’s leaders and supporters from across the UK. The minutes of the meeting show that by the end of the meeting at 3 am on Saturday, supporters cutting across factions within the party expressed “a deep sense of demotivation, dejection and distastefulness”.
Following the meeting, the party’s supporters decided to put up a message on their official Facebook page expressing “ disillusionment about how the AAP appears to have diverted from its core principles of accountability and transparency”.
Nitesh Seth, who calls himself a neutral AAP supporter, said the message was framed unanimously by supporters of Yadav as well as Arvind Kejriwal factions among the UK diaspora. “Everyone agreed that while they do not want to leave AAP, in the light of the fact that donations have dried up due to the recent events, the most constructive way would be to offer Rs 5 crore to the party funds if they release the raw footage. It is the question of survival of the very idea of the AAP right now,”he said.
When The Indian Express asked party spokesperson Ashutush on whether the AAP would release the unedited version, he said, “This is the party’s internal matter. I have no idea who these people are; their bonafides need to be verified.” He also denied knowledge about the online UK link on the party’s website being removed.
“In the beginning, when no one in the UK had even heard of AAP, we used to wear shirts with the AAP logo and serve in gurdwaras and distribute pamphlets outside shops and temples,” Subroto Chatterjee, a Surrey resident, said.
According to the AAP’s website, the UK is responsible for generating party funds worth Rs 25 lakh during the recent Delhi elections and is one of the top five donor countries for the party.
Raj Redij-Gill, who the AAP’s website listed as the main pointsperson for the UK until they reportedly took it off on Saturday, recalls how he held a fast outside the Indian High Commission in London the very day Hazare held his first fast four years ago.
“When the movement took the shape of a political alternative, I got involved with putting together a global database for raising funds for the party and creating a support base within the UK and on social media. Back then, when the funds were flowing, no one questioned our credentials,” Redij-Gill said.
He said while both Kejriwal and Yadav are the same to him, the serious nature of the allegations against one faction needs to be investigated for the sake of transparency.