There is an adage which goes as “Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan.” This saying holds true with the four-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that governs the national capital.
The party had a damp squib performance during the recently concluded municipal corporation polls in Delhi. Not to mention that the BJP emerged as the largest winner in the MCD elections by bagging 184 seats, while the Aam Aadmi Party came a distant second with 46 seats and the Congress had to solace with mere 30 seats. In fact, psephologists have predicted rout for the AAP in the next Assembly polls in Delhi, taking a cue from the MCD poll result. The defeat has compelled the AAP mandarins to go for introspection.
It was in this backdrop that the party, which came to power after defeating the BJP-led NDA in the national capital Assembly polls four years ago, has mired into a fresh controversy.
The AAP is in focus at present because of allegations levelled by none other than the party’s own minister, Kapil Mishra, of corruption charges against the party supremo and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
The minister, who was expelled from the party on May 6, had claimed to have witnessed the Delhi chief minister accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from health minister Satyendra Jain, a few days ago. It was followed by lodging a complaint by him with the Anti Corruption Branch on the issue, which became the root cause of his suspension from the AAP’s primary membership.
Interestingly, Mishra had lodged three FIRs with the CBI, which included the cash deal between Satyendra Jain and Arvind Kejriwal, how Jain has benefited close relatives of Arvind Kejriwal in an illegal land deal and illegal use of funds on foreign tours by senior party leaders.
In a fresh salvo Mishra threatened AK to drag him to Tihar jail in case the latter failed to resign from the CM’s post. Claiming that the party lied about its donation figures to the Election Commission, Mishra, who fainted after holding a press conference on the issue on the day, has alleged that the AAP had over Rs 45 crore in its bank account during the financial year of 2013-2014 whereas the party in its declaration to the EC had showed an income of around Rs 9 crore. In fact, Mishra has sat on a hunger strike in front of his house on the issue and was even attacked by an AAP volunteer.
Mishra went on by saying that the party has accumulated the money through shell companies. According to him, 16 shell companies managed by AAP MLA Shiv Charan Goyal donated to the Aam Aadmi Party in sheer violation of financial transaction norms. He further alleged that the AAP did not inform about some of its funds which it received from fake companies.
The party came into being following a raft between the activists Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare regarding whether or not to politicise the popular India Against Corruption movement that had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill for over 15 years now. Hazare was of the view that the movement should remain politically unaligned while Kejriwal felt the failure of the agitation route necessitated a direct political involvement and it was how the AAP was formed.
In the 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, the AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly, aging the otherwise its winning political rival political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party which had to solace with merely 3 seats, while the Indian National Congress couldn’t open any account. In its bid to save its skin, the AAP has blamed that it was the BJP which was behind the entire episode.
The BJP is known to have got expertise in its manoeuvring skills. After having lost in crucial Assembly polls in states like Delhi and Bihar, the party’s spin doctors chalked out strategies for the party to make a breakthrough in those states where it was having a marginal presence and which included Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
In UP, the party’s actions worked very well where it won with a thumping majority going beyond its own expectations, whereas the party is seriously working on making it big in states like West Bengal, Gujarat and Karnataka where state Assembly polls are due. If the party lost in Punjab, then it didn’t bother the BJP much keeping in view Punjab being a small state as its focus was on catching big fishes. It all has worried the AAP like anything as it has been losing its base in the national capital and hence it was quite obvious for the party to involve itself in the usual mud-slinging game.
Now, it is now to be seen how the AAP is able to steer clear itself of the ongoing controversy and re-establish its clean image within the public.