‘We misjudged Arvind’

Print edition : May 01, 2015

PRASHANT BHUSHAN, Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court and anti-corruption crusader, was one of the founders of the AAP. He spoke to Frontline after being removed from all positions in the party. Excerpts:

What is your next course of action?

We are holding a consultation on April 14 with volunteers and like-minded people who are heartbroken with the turn of events in the party to decide how to move forward now. But we have to be very careful. We cannot afford to make mistakes that we made this time.

Have you thought of options before you?

There are three options; first, we try and reclaim the AAP from Kejriwal and coterie. For this we can have recourse to the legal route. For me personally this is a distasteful option which will waste time and energy. The second is to form another political party. I personally don’t favour it. The third option is to form a platform where like-minded people come together and work for the socio-economic and political revolution in a transparent and democratic manner. We will ascertain the views of people on these options.

But without entering into the political system, how would you ensure vyavastha parivartan?

It is not necessary that only political parties can do vyavastha parivartan. Crowdsourcing, where people turn into agents of change, is a concept which has become successful elsewhere in the world. The German Green Party is an example of this. What is ultimately important is that people should be backing whatever you do and for that politics is not the only route. It is to precisely decide this that we are meeting on April 14.

You worked with Arvind Kejriwal from the India Against Corruption days. How come such serious differences suddenly cropped up?

We misjudged Arvind. He turned out to be a hypocrite. He has two very serious character flaws: he is a control freak who cannot take no for an answer and second, his willingness to use unethical means.

He uses volunteers like mere instruments and likes to be surrounded by a coterie who can go to any extent to please him. He surreptitiously asked volunteers to run Modi for PM [Prime Minister] and Kejriwal for CM [Chief Minister] campaign on social media. All sorts of dubious people were given the ticket by him. I told him many times that even if we win elections by such dubious means our credibility would be totally destroyed. Our differences arose because I would directly confront him on things I did not agree with.

If there were such serious differences then why did you not come out in the open before the election?

I think it was a mistake on our part. I thought maybe after the elections we would sit down and discuss things. When differences erupted over 12 candidates, I put my foot down and told him I will hold a press conference. He had then agreed to send those names to the Lokpal and for the rest we had agreed that we would hold a meeting to decide. But he betrayed not only ours but people’s trust. History and God will not forgive him.

Purnima S. Tripathi

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