After the poll debacle, rift between party’s candidate and old executive committee comes to the fore

Even as the disappointment of the Lok Sabha election results sinks in, the district unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seems to be unfurling with group members, figuratively, washing dirty linen in public.

Immediately after the defeat where AAP received 5,442 votes and placed below None of the Above, party candidate M.R. Vasudeva told presspersons there had been “strong” opposition to his candidature, which led to party members not supporting him. On Wednesday, the rift was visible as S. Nandagopal, founder of the district unit and spokesperson, termed the statements “unbecoming of an MP candidate. Personal opinion and indicates his disgust over his personal performance”.

In response, on Friday, a release, vouched for by Mr. Vasudeva, condemned the statement, expressing disappointment with “insiders who either engaged in subterfuge or leaking information about internal differences”.

“I was given powers of a spokesperson when I was the candidate and I have not been given in writing that it is revoked. Until the new committee is constituted in the district, only I can represent the party officially,” Mr. Vasudeva told The Hindu.

Contradicting him is Mr. Nandagopal, who said that as the elections have ended, Mr. Vasudeva was “only an ordinary member”.

“The old executive committee is now in force, and so, now our statements are official. I don’t know why they (Mr. Vasudeva’s group) continue to represent the party. Maybe, they want a district-level position here,” he said.

Controversy galore

Earlier, the naming of Mr. Vasudeva as the Lok Sabha candidate had generated controversy, with former co-convenor and founder of the district unit Robert Rosario raising his objections vocally and publicly – even circulating pictures of the candidate at a programme supporting BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Mr. Rosario was expelled in April 15 after he filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Mr. Vasudeva.

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