‘The idea of AAP must be realised’

Print edition : May 01, 2015

Yogendra Yadav and his supporters raise slogans after his expulsion from the AAP National Executive, at Kapashera in New Delhi on March 28. Photo: Kamal Singh /PTI

HAVING been unceremoniously removed from the Political Affairs Committee and the National Executive and from the post of chief spokesman of the Aam Aadmi Party, Yogendra Yadav, one of its founder members, is now mulling over how to liberate the “idea of AAP” from the “reality of AAP”. Excerpts from an interview the noted psephologist and social scientist gave Frontline:

Having been associated with the AAP since its inception, do you feel betrayed or hurt by the turn of events?

I would have felt betrayed or hurt if I had not seen it coming. I was only surprised at the manner in which it was done. I thought he [Arvind Kejriwal] would do it with a little more grace. But I sensed from the beginning that Arvind was uneasy with me. He made his unease clear. There were little little things from the beginning. I chaired a committee to draft the party’s vision document after a month-long exercise, but he replaced it with his own at the last moment. I was very angry then, but Prashant [Bhushan] pacified me.

When the party was conceived, I proposed a Bharat Yatra, but he said no as he thought it was a waste of time. I told him I would be happy to waste my time. Later, he told me that Kumar Vishwas had said it would give me a national projection and that was why he did not allow it. There were other occasions also, but Prashant always pacified me. I also thought maybe I am not an easy person to get along with. I know I am not the buddy type, so I just ignored these things.

Before the 2013 Delhi elections, Arvind wanted me to announce fake survey results, but I said no. I did not support the idea of taking the Congress’ support to form the government either, but we solved that by going back to the people.

I did not support his dharna or even his resignation, he did not consult anyone on those issues and I really felt upset. He did not believe in any democratic consultations.

Things actually turned worse after the Lok Sabha elections. He overruled the PAC [Political Affairs Committee] decision on the attempt to form the government a second time after the Lok Sabha defeat. He even rigged an NE [National Executive] voting for this purpose. Candidate selection for the Delhi election was another flashpoint. He did not follow any procedure; the PAC was never consulted.

When 12 candidates with questionable credentials were nominated I put my foot down. I told him I would resign. It was then that those 12 names were referred to the Lokpal, and two were dropped. It was agreed at that time that after the election we would hold a meeting and decide the way forward. I knew he was uncomfortable working with me, but I did not think he would do it so brazenly.

Now what is the way ahead?

Our vision is to take the idea of AAP forward nationwide. It is a pity Arvind has reduced himself to a petty State leader. Our vision for the party was to make it into an instrument for socio-economic and political change and we will hold consultations with volunteers on how to do that now.

I don’t think this is the right time for rushing into forming another political party, it may not be viable at this time. We must first have organisational viability, and then assessing our strength we should move forward. We should not spread ourselves too thin. We must reconnect with various social movements countrywide and see how we can go forward together. We must move away from the desperation to win. Short-term miracles should not be our aim.

The idea of AAP must be realised. I know only one thing, that the idea of AAP, of clean, alternative politics for vyvastha parivartan[systemic change] , is what gave birth to this party, and we have to keep this idea alive, and liberate it from the reality of AAP.

Purnima S. Tripathi

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