Kejriwal's new headache: Rebels back Independents

Nov 23 2013, 09:08 IST
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SummaryRebel Bharatiya Aam Aadmi Parivar (BAAP) has decided to back independents in the Delhi elections.

Four months after it broke away from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the rebel Bharatiya Aam Aadmi Parivar (BAAP) has decided to back independents in the Delhi elections.

BAAP president Neeraj Kumar said the party will back at least six candidates in Tilak Nagar, R K Puram, Janakpuri, Badarpur, Kirari and Jangpura. Members of the BAAP plan to drive a ‘rath’ — a truck with LCD screens and posters urging voters “not to betray” Anna Hazare.

On November 23, it has planned a meeting of all independents in the fray in Delhi. BAAP members are asking independents to join them and contest the polls with the balloon as a symbol.

“We will be inviting all independent candidates to the meeting in Lajpat Nagar on November 23. We will hold sessions on how they should campaign. We will ask them to join our organisation,” Neeraj Kumar said.

“Annaji is right when he says that corruption is bound to seep into the party because it will need donations. He is also right when he says that honest leaders should contest the elections independently. This is the ideology that we are following,” he said.

While they claim they told Hazare about the AAP using his name in its campaign, BAAP members have no qualms in using Hazare’s videos in their rath. “We don’t need to take permission from Annaji because we are propagating his views,” Kumar said.

The independents the BAAP will back include Vishal Sharma, who is contesting the Tilak Nagar seat, and Rashid Ilmi in RK Puram. Rashid is the brother of AAP candidate Shazia Ilmi. Confirming that he was being backed by BAAP, Rashid Ilmi said: “I have been associated with them for a long time. They are from the same movement from which Arvind Kejriwal and his party emerged, the India Against Corruption movement.”

In Tilak Nagar too, the BAAP is rallying behind Sharma who is contesting against AAP’s Jarnail Singh. Members of BAAP said the decision to back independents was taken last month after “leaders of the AAP refused to listen to our grievances”.

Ashok Arora, who was earlier a member of the AAP, said: “The candidate selection process has become just like the BJP and Congress. An important part of the selection process was to ask volunteers. They were all against the candidates selected in some areas.”

Sharma, the independent from Tilak Nagar, said he used to be a volunteer. “Of 24 people present, 17

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