Also spills some beans in the process
Yesterday, an email (adjoining picture) from Saman Quraishi, a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), reached 228 members of the party’s national council, the supposedly third most powerful policy making body of the political organisation. It appealed to all disillusioned with the party to congregate under an umbrella outfit called AVAM, acronym of AAP Volunteers’ Action Manch, to pressure the party’s leadership to mend its ways. A newspaper had recently reported that the outfit enjoyed the support of Shazia Ilmi and even Shanti Bhushan. Today Madhur Bhaduri, the second founding member to leave the party for ideological reasons after this correspondent, pooh-poohed all such efforts and declared she no longer had anything to do with the AAP.
AVAM has been propped by a Karan Singh who claims to have worked tirelessly for the AAP, with mobilisation of auto-rickshaw drivers in the party’s support being the highlight of his contribution. In a recent Facebook interaction, Rakesh Agarwal of Nyayabhoomi contested the claim made by Singh’s friend, saying it was he who had rallied the drivers in the party’s support last year.
The email on Singh’s behalf read, “When… concerns (of swaraj or decentralised decision making in the party) were not satisfactorily addressed by our top leadership in individual interactions, Karan Singh (looking after all volunteer related issues) started raising such queries with volunteers to fully understand and feel their pain. Prolonged deliberations convinced him of the need of having a united consensus voice of volunteers. He started feeling the acute need for a volunteers’ forum — very much within the party — to help facilitate interactions, mutual understanding among volunteers and also to help give them an identity and recognition. It is this idea of a forum which he named AVAM or AAP Volunteers’ Action Manch.”
The email, which has a Hindi translation following the part in English, contains proposals of holding internal elections at various levels of the organisational structure of the AAP.
Visibly still smarting from the humiliation she was meted out in January in the reluctantly held national council meet towards the end of January, Bhaduri wrote back:
“Dear Saman Quraishi,
I was bemused to read your mail to members of the National Council of AAP. You have listed the powers of that supreme body of the party. The list is like a joke to anyone who was at the last meeting of the national council on 31st Jan 2014. Did you raise your voice to the 8 amendments that were passed without any discussion at that meeting? Each one of those was to dilute the power of the national Council.
You say that the National Council members have authority. You must be joking. I had given advance notice to the Secretary that I would like to move a resolution at the meeting regarding the midnight raid on African women in Malviya Nagar Khirki Extension which was led by the then Law Minister. I was not given any time. thanks to the intervention of Admiral Ramdas and his wife I was allowed to speak to the members and was then stopped mid way before I could move the resolution. You all watched as the hecklers of AAP forced me out of the hall.
You were also mute witnesses to the mockery made by the party leadership of that meeting. Arvind Kejriwal added more names to his list of corrupt politicians whom he would send to jail. He then left the meeting along with members of his cabinet for more important work. The other leaders came and recited platitudes more for the benefit of the Press. They left along with the Press. The rest of the show was a disgrace to the members present who were treated like doormats and behaved like that too.
You, as everyone watching AAP, can hardly deny the fact that the party is the leader and the rest is form without substance. To want to change the National Council or any other body does not make any sense.
I have nothing to do with AAP since that last meeting of the National Council.
Prahlad Pandey, the founding member of the AAP who once headed its Madhya Pradesh unit, endorsed the view of Quraishi, saying his efforts at correcting the party have been rendered futile by the organisation’s leadership. “पार्टी के भीतर आंतरिक लोकतंत्र और पारदर्शिता का अभाव मैं कई महीनों से महसूस कर रहा हूँ। अपने स्तर पर मैंने कुछ प्रयास भी किये जो असफल कर दिए गए। पारदर्शिता और स्वराज के सिपाहियों के मन में वे सारी चिंताएँ हैं जिन्हें करण सिंह ने उठाया है। मैं ‘अवाम’का समर्थन करता हूँ और करण सिंह को पार्टी से निकाले जाने का विरोध करता हूँ (I have been sensing lack of democracy and transparency in the party for the past several months. I tried to make amends at my level, but my efforts were rendered futile. The soldiers for the cause of transparency and self-rule — which in the AAP refers to a decentralised power structure — echo the sentiments of Karan Singh. I support AVAM and protest Singh’s expulsion from the party),” he wrote in a reply to the email.