AS AAP’s national ambitions came crashing after three debilitating electoral defeats — Punjab and Goa Assembly polls, the Rajouri Garden bypolls and the MCD polls — the party is headed for a course correction, focusing on its home turf Delhi and deferring its expansion plans in other states.
Cabinet minister Gopal Rai, who was recently appointed organisation building head for the three poll-bound states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, was appointed the Delhi unit convenor late Thursday evening following a Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting at party supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence.
If all went well in the Punjab assembly elections and the municipal polls, Rai was set to emerge as the key strategist and organisation building head of the party.
Rai, however, continues to be the party’s best bet as four close aides of Kejriwal — Punjab state in-charge Sanjay Singh, Punjab organisation building head Durgesh Pathak, Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey and Delhi state in-charge Ashish Talwar — stepped down from their posts Thursday morning.
Rai was written off by a section of the party after allegations against him emerged in the transport department when he was handling the portfolio. His exit was timed with his surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his neck. After his recovery, he took over the reins in the three poll-bound states.
Regardless of the rout in the MCD polls or in Punjab, Kejriwal was contemplating a restructuring of the party’s national organisation, sources said. “The four leaders who have stepped down continue to remain the party’s strongest strategists. The party needs to identify what has gone wrong and how to mend it,” a senior party functionary said.
“All MLAs will go back to every voter in their constituency and find out where the party faltered. The battle to ensure tamper-proof EVMs are used will go on but that does not mean we will not introspect our shortcomings.”
Party sources said marathon meetings with sitting MLAs and senior party functionaries, Kejriwal was told to tone down the attack on ‘EVM tampering’.