Rajat Sharma


For the first time, a minister of Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has raised a banner of revolt. Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand, holding seven portfolios, resigned from the cabinet and party on Wednesday alleging that “AAP is now neck deep in corruption”. Anand said, his earlier view was that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was being unfairly targeted in the liquor scam, but after Delhi High Court’s detailed judgment, he said, it is now clear that the party is now mired in corruption. Anand sent his resignation letter to the chief minister’s office, but the problem is: the CM is in Tihar jail. Who will forward his resignation to the Lt Governor? Kejriwal had sought meetings with his lawyer at least five days a week, but a Delhi court rejected his plea saying that he could meet his lawyer only twice a week. In a third development, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and AAP leader Sanjay Singh sought permission to meet Kejriwal in jail, but they were denied permission on security grounds. Soon after Anand resigned, Sanjay Singh called a press conference to allege that the real aim of ED and BJP was to create a split in his party. He pointed out that ED had raided Anand’s residence on November 2 last year on charge of non-payment of Rs 7 crore customs duty on imported goods, and ED had summoned him for questioning on April 12. “Everybody cannot be Sanjay Singh, who can withstand ED’s pressure”, he said. Another AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj alleged that BJP’s Operation Lotus has now been activated to divide the Aam Aadmi Party. On Wednesday, BJP workers staged protest demanding Kejriwal’s resignation, while a meeting of AAP leaders was held at Kejriwal’s residence. Sunita Kejriwal, the chief minister’s wife, conveyed her husband’s message to party leaders, which said, despite being in jail, the people of Delhi must not face difficulties. Kejriwal also asked his party workers to observe Save Constitution Day on B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary which falls on April 14. Most of the problems in Aam Aadmi Party appear to originate from claims and remarks made in public by some of their leaders. For the last several days, AAP leaders had been claiming that not a single AAP MLA broke away from the party and that BJP’s gambit of splitting the party has failed. Had they not made such remarks, the effect of Anand resigning on Wednesday would not have caused any effect. Similarly, for the last several days, some AAP leaders had been saying that ED has failed to recover even a single rupee, but Delhi High Court clearly said that kickback was given in liquor scam to AAP and the cash was used in Goa assembly election. There are several other issues which have been created only because of loud claims made by AAP leaders. One cannot deny that the seeds of doubts have started germinating in the minds of common AAP workers after the Delhi High Court judgment. Anand’s resignation may or may not have any effect, but the common party workers will now start thinking whether irregularities did take place in the liquor case, whether money did come from the ‘South Lobby’ and whether the hands of party leaders are clean, as is being claimed. Such doubts in the minds of AAP workers can prove dangerous for the party. Aam Aadmi Party has a huge majority in Delhi and resignation of a single minister or 5-10 MLAs may not cause much difference. But Kejriwal’s biggest problem is: How to run his government from jail? He can meet his lawyers only twice a week, and that too, under surveillance. How can Kejriwal discharge his Constitutional responsibility in such circumstances? If he resigns, whom will he crown as chief minister?

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