Following a series of “below expectation” poll results for the AAP, a section of the party has reached out to its chief Arvind Kejriwal, asking him to “focus on governance” and hand over reins of the party’s political expansion to senior leader Kumar Vishwas. At least half a dozen party MLAs confirmed to The Indian Express that such a proposal has been conveyed to Kejriwal and has received a “positive response” from him.
“The Delhi government is the only thing we have to show for. The five years of governance will stand as an example and yardstick for us at the end. By giving Kejriwal such a resounding victory in the Delhi Assembly polls, people of Delhi have entered into a courtship period with him and the AAP. Whether this courtship period ends in marriage or not, depends on our performance,” Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti told The Indian Express.
“Quite a few of us in the party have raised it with Kejriwal that he and Manish Sisodia should focus their undivided attention on the Delhi government and hand over charge of the party’s expansion to Kumar Vishwas, who is an able leader,” Bharti said. Even as rumours of a rift within the party have been gathering steam, Bharti maintained, “We are all here with Kejriwal. I will be with AAP or not be here (in politics) at all. There is no question of anything else.”
There has been increasing clamour within the party for a larger role for Vishwas, who has remained distant from AAP over the past year. Vishwas, listed as a star campaigner, did not show up for campaigning during the municipal elections. An AAP MLA, who did not wish to be named, echoed Bharti. “No one is questioning the leadership. But the demand is to strengthen what we have in Delhi and not lose sight of our goal. In the meetings on Thursday, we reflected on how we started out and why we left our jobs and got into politics in the first place. When the party set out to contest the 2013 Assembly polls, our main aim was to set an example before the traditional parties on how AAP will govern and deliver differently. The question today is how and why have we failed in doing that,” the leader said.
Another AAP MLA said, “The party contested six elections and, except the 2015 Assembly polls, we have fared badly in each of them… We have scored below our own expectations and that is hurting us the most.”