NEW DELHI—The Aam Adami Party (AAP), India’s youngest political party that arisen out of an anti-corruption movement last year has carved a way for a new culture of politics. However, the party already seems to struggle from within; last week a few of its workers accused the party leadership for not being transparent while selecting candidates for the forthcoming elections.
On Monday, outside the gates of the party’s Delhi office at Hanuman Road, many workers peacefully protested against its recent list of candidates for election to the lower house of parliament, while others emphatically defended its decisions.
The party had announced its first list of 20 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on February 16. The list includes many leading activists connected with noted pro-people movements in the country along with other known and unknown faces. The candidates have been announced against specific incumbent members of the parliament.
Jaikapish Thakur, a protesting party worker said, “The policy was that tickets would be given in consultation with workers but it is now given within rooms.”
“Party’s policies have changed. We all were a part of the party’s various campaigns, including its campaign against corruption. None of us is here for a (candidature) seat. We don’t want wrong politics to happen; candidates should be selected through voting,” said Deepak Vatts, another protester.
The protesting candidates, five of which were on a hunger-protest since Saturday last week, also complained that no one from within the party came to talk to them or provide any medical assistance. While a few other party workers came forward to defend the party’s decision.
“The party is new and it needs a structure. Party needs people who can work for the country,” said Sandeep Arora, a non-protesting party worker. “Mr. Arvind (the party leader) has told everyone that only those who have courage to sacrifice everything for the nation should come into the party. How can the party work if everyone wants party (candidature) ticket to the Lok Sabha?” Arora added.
While Vatts emphasized that Arora could speak like that because he joined the party after it won elections in Delhi, but they have been working for it since three years. “We just want that party elects its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections through voting and consensus within the workers,” Vatts said.
The AAP’s spectacular performance in the recent Delhi state elections, its sudden rise, and subsequent resignation from power, merely after 45 days later, seems to have happened very fast for its many workers.
During the protest outside the Delhi office, huge banners were displayed on vehicles and walls as a part of the protest. The posters indicated that it’s a selfless, honest, and peaceful protest by the party workers from the North West Lok Sabha (the Lower house of Indian Parliament) constituency. While inside the party’s office is written in Hindi: “Arsey Baad, azad desk ki atma ko ucharan mileyga ab.” It means, “After long, the soul of our free nation will now be elevated.”