Two days after slamming the party's leadership for removing two of its founders, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, from its Political Affairs Committee (PAC), senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Mayank Gandhi has hit out again, saying a concerted attempt was being made in social media to call him anti-party and anti-Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi.
"After the 4th March meeting, it was my well thought out and conscious decision to write the blogs to uphold the higher principle of transparency," he said on his blog today, referring to his previous post about the removal of Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan.
"A price may have to be paid. A small group of party decision makers in Delhi have already removed me from the informal BBM group. Attacks have begun against me from Ashish Khetan and others.
"Some dissatisfied members from Maharashtra have started giving interviews against me, some old cases are being re-opened. A concerted attempt is being made in social media to call me anti-party and anti-AK," he wrote.
"The party may decide not to fight BMC elections or delay the decision for the same, leadership of Maharashtra will be challenged and discredited by some individuals, media leaks will be made. More will come and I will be finally humiliated so much that I will quit. That was what was planned for YY and PB, but they overturned that plan by staying inside the party. Let me see if I can withstand the muck that will be thrown. But, my being in the party or not is immaterial, if by then, I am able to bring in some changes in the functioning of the party and empowered the volunteers," he said.
Mr Gandhi said that since the May 4 meeting of the party's national executive (NE), at which the decision to remove Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan was taken, thousands of its volunteers had been asking about the difference between AAP and other parties.
"I want to tell the country that there is a huge difference and in the next few weeks, we volunteers shall demonstrate the same. As a disciplined worker, I am generally non-confrontational and have never spoken a word against the movement nor party since the past four years outside the appropriate forum. But now is the time to take a stand. This is not to weaken the party nor our leadership, but to strengthen AAP and the principles that we have espoused.
"It always has to be nation first, party next and individuals last. Party is only a vehicle to serve the nation and individuals, merely tools. The blogs are an exhortation to our volunteers, supporters and donors, not to disengage nor become negative, but to engage more with the party and force the leaders to truly build AAP into a party of our dreams. A model party based on principles of participation, accountability, transparency, decentralization and integrity. A party that will force other political parties to follow our example and improve governance and political activity in the nation. AAP volunteers need to demonstrate how we are the real owners of the party and bring back the founding principles in the party.
"If you had read my earlier blog carefully, it was my personal challenge to the gag order on informing the volunteers about this most important NE meeting. Thousands from all over the world were waiting – some crying, some sleepless and most worried. A gag order was completely wrong. And hence I challenged the same. Having heard AK speak hundreds of times on transparency, participation, accountability and the need to stay away from arrogance, it has built a strong conscience in me. We must follow this higher consciousness, as a party. My blogs are not against any individual nor a challenge to the leadership. That is not how I function.
"A volunteer identifies and considers AAP as part of their existence, but the walls built between them, the Committees and their non-transparent decisions have alienated them. Volunteers must propose that all NE meetings be video recorded and volunteers allowed to view the same. All committee members are finally just representatives of volunteers, nothing more. Remember, video recording was one of our demands during the joint draft committee meetings on Janlokpal in 2011. All minutes of the meeting signed by all members in all committees in the country should be released on the next day of the meeting to volunteers and supporters," he said.
Mr Gandhi hoped the minutes of the national executive meeting would be published soon, saying he had given only some glimpses of the happenings and the complete minutes should be in the public domain.
"My description could have some shortcomings and may contain some probable bias, but the minutes will be authentic records. The volunteers should request for the same. This will strengthen the party and volunteers will become privy to the decisions taken," he said.
He said volunteers need to propose to the national executive about processes and systems on subjects of inner party democracy, volunteer management and communication, reconstitution of PAC and NE, code of conduct for volunteers and leaders, gender justice, conflict resolution mechanisms, policy stands on various subjects, and so on.
"In my next blog, I shall propose some concrete ideas on the principle of participation of volunteers in the working of the party and seek your ideas and suggestions.
"Friends, it is time to participate in the party functioning in the best tradition of Swaraj. It should be non-confrontational, graceful, respectful to the leadership and constructive. We are all learning.
"Let me reiterate, this is not any rebellion, nor against our leadership, nor to seek personal attention. I truly believe that AK is the hope for the country and I have learnt almost everything from him. I will continue to avoid going to the press," he added.
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