Yet another internal conflict in the Aam Aadmi Party came to the surface on Thursday in spectacular fashion – via protests. Ahead of Rajya Sabha polls supporters of AAP founder member Kumar Vishwas engaged in a face-off with the party in the morning that lasted till 7:30 PM at party headquarters. Vishwas supporters set up tents in party office and refused to leave unless they get an assurance from Arvind Kejriwal that Vishwas will be made a Rajya Sabha member on a party ticket. A group of around 60 supporters of Kumar Vishwas held a protest for over four hours. Not informed before tents were brought, AAP office bearers were taken aback. The gatekeeper was pushed as he tried to obstruct the supporters’ entry inside. In a police complaint, AAP claimed all gathered inside were illegal occupants and not party workers and requested police to drive them out. In the evening armed with batons, dozens of cops led by an officer stormed the premises and warned Vishwas’ supporters of strict action if they do not leave within 30 minutes. This prompted Vishwas to ask them not to create “unrest” in the party for his cause.
In a social media post, Kumar Vishwas drew a parallel between him and Abhimanyu, the teenage Mahabharata warrior, who was surrounded and slain by biggest of rival fighters violating rules of warfare. In a tweet, he said, “Pl refer to my Nov 26 appeal, Country first, Party next and Person last. Fight for Swaraj, BackToBasics, Transparency but I won’t appreciate any unrest in my name. Abhimanyu is a winner, even if killed(sic).” They all left by 8 pm following an appeal from Vishwas to fight for Swaraj, transparency, and back to basics within AAP and not for an individual. Earlier, in May, Vishwas had threatened to quit the party, after AAP MLA from Okhla Amanatullah Khan had referred to him as an “RSS agent”.
For the polls scheduled on January 16, the last date of nomination is January 5 but AAP is still undecided about its three nominees. AAP’s political affairs committee will decide the names but has not fixed any meeting yet. Delhi government will elect three members of the Upper House of Parliament in January. The tenure of current Rajya Sabha members – Janardan Dwivedi, Parvez Hashmi, and Karan Singh -from Delhi ends on January 27.