Say there is absence of swaraj, internal democracy in the party

Trouble for the Aam Aadmi Party is not over yet. The core set of volunteers of the party, who were instrumental in ensuring its stunning debut in Delhi Assembly elections last year, have formed a parallel organisation to regroup themselves after they failed to get a platform within the party to express their grievances.

Several active AAP volunteers, who have now joined the AAP Volunteers Action Manch (AVAM), which was formed recently by some disgruntled volunteers, said they were forced to come up with an alternative after the party leadership “ended up doing the same thing which it used to accuse other parties of doing — absence of swaraj (self rule) and absence of internal democracy in the functioning of the party”.

The AAP, however, washed its hands off and sent press releases stating it had nothing to do with the AVAM.

“There are thousands of volunteers who invested their time, energy and career in the party in its initial days. Now, when wanted to have debate in the party about several important issues like decision-making process, the party leadership treated us as if we were juveniles,” said another senior AAP volunteer, who is still with the party but supports the AVAM. One of the brainchild behind the AVAM is Karan Singh, a former close confidant of Arvind Kejriwal. He defended forming the AVAM saying this was just an initiative to initiate dialogue among the party volunteers and “chalk out a roadmap” for them who were feeling the void after the polls.

A large number of these volunteers include those who joined the party when they were students of institutions like the IITs and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Some of them took sabbatical from studies and their jobs to work for the party during the Delhi Assembly polls last December.

When asked if they have left the AAP, they categorically responded that the party does not belong to a particular set of people and it was equally theirs as it was of anybody else.

“The AVAM has been launched by some people who claim this to be the official channel for soliciting volunteer feedback and grievances. AAP would like to categorically state that it DOES NOT endorse this organisation,” said a release on the party’s website.

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