AAP admits it is badly stretched
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership has admitted that it has spread itself too thin in this Lok Sabha election and that might affect its performance. This admission by party’s political affairs committee member Prashant Bhushan comes soon after Arvind Kejriwal agreed that his decision to resign from the Delhi government was ill-timed as it gave the impression that he was running away from responsibility.
These admissions in the middle of the elections indicate that the party leadership is now acutely aware that AAP has lost some of its popular support and, therefore, momentum because of these controversial decisions. Bhushan, however, blamed BJP, Congress and the media for “negative propaganda” that may have chipped away at AAP’s popularity.
Just as Kejriwal’s admission of making a mistake was nuanced, so was Bhushan’s. He told TOI on Saturday: “Yes, in a way it is true (that we are stretched). But that doesn’t mean the decision (to fight over 400 seats in the election) is wrong. We lack both financial and human resources. But if you want the footprint of the party to span across the country and spread the message, it had to be done. In many parts of the country we don’t have good candidates, but in most parts we have been able to put up good people who will be an asset in the future.“
Talking of Kejriwal’s comments that his decision to resign from the Delhi government was per se correct but the way it was done was wrong as the decision wasn’t properly communicated to the people, Bhushan said the decision was taken by Kejriwal and the Delhi cabinet and never discussed with the party. In fact, it was perhaps taken unilaterally by Kejriwal, Bhushan hinted, adding not everyone in the party may have agreed with Kejriwal’s decision to throw in the towel.
“The decision (to resign from government) was taken by Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi cabinet. It was never really discussed with the party national executive. I agree with the decision…but there could be differences within the party. Some people could feel that this should not have been done but the vast majority agreed with the decision,” Bhushan added.
Agreeing with Kejriwal’s view that there could have been a gap in communicating the message to quit the government to the public, he said: “Communication should have been better, a little more time could have been given to take the decision,” he said. Asked whether the decision had led to middle-class disenchantment, Bhushan said, “To some extent the middle-class has been affected…but I think the reason for this is the negative propaganda by Congress, BJP and the media.”