AAP in the doldrums

Amanatullah suspended, Vishwas appeased

New Delhi, 03/05/2017: Delhi Depuy Chief Minister Manish Sishodia with party leader Kumar Vishwas arrives to address the media after Aam Aadmi Party's PAC meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

New Delhi, 03/05/2017: Delhi Depuy Chief Minister Manish Sishodia with party leader Kumar Vishwas arrives to address the media after Aam Aadmi Party's PAC meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

Some peace finally returned to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday after its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) suspended Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan for the allegations he levelled against founder member Kumar Vishwas.

Verdict on Khan awaited

Party sources, however, said that this was just ‘temporary’ calm as a verdict on Mr. Khan would be delivered only after a disciplinary committee conducts an inquiry.

In a three-hour meeting at national convenor and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence, the PAC formed a three-member disciplinary committee. The panel headed by AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta will now investigate the charges made by Mr. Khan.

Among the other members on the panel are senior leaders Ashutosh and Atishi Marlena.

Also, the PAC decided to appoint Mr. Vishwas as the party in-charge for Rajasthan, where elections are due next year.

 

“The PAC found that the allegations made by Mr. Khan were grave. He has been suspended. We have formed a committee that will decide what will happen to him after the allegations are investigated,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia after the meeting.

Mr. Vishwas had turned to the media on Tuesday evening to express his displeasure at the party failing to take action against Mr. Khan for calling him a “BJP agent”. He said that if such allegations were made against Mr. Kejriwal or Mr. Sisodia, Mr. Khan would have been kicked out of the party immediately.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia, accompanied by Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Kapil Mishra, had visited Mr. Vishwas’s at his residence in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara.

Around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the PAC met amid speculations of Mr. Vishwas leaving the party. However, the party succeeded in placating him. “I stand by my party and supporters who were with me in this difficult time,” said Mr. Vishwas after the meeting.

He reiterated that he had no desire to be the Chief Minister. He said, “The party needed a course correction and that is going to happen just like I said.”

After the meeting, Mr. Sisodia went to meet Mr. Khan and inform him of the decision. “I accept and respect the decision of the party and the PAC. I will present my case before the disciplinary committee whenever I am asked to,” Mr. Khan told The Hindu over the telephone.

Expert speak

Experts and party insiders, meanwhile, said that Mr. Vishwas’s image of a ‘reluctant politician’ might help the party start afresh in Rajasthan after its recent losses in Punjab, Goa and Delhi.

“Unlike Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Sisodia, whose image is marred by the consecutive election losses, Mr. Vishwas does not have any poll baggage. He has maintained a distance from active party politics in all of these elections. He also has mass appeal independent of the party’s image, which might work for the AAP,” said Dr. Rajbir Nautiyal, a political analyst.

Mr. Vishwas now faces the challenge of establishing the party’s image in a State that is the turf of BJP’s doyen Vasundhara Raje. Before being assigned the role of Rajasthan’s prabhari (in-charge), Mr. Vishwas was taking care of the party’s overseas funding.

Many in the party also believe that allowing Mr. Vishwas to exit the party would’ve cost it heavily as he has a strong volunteer base. “It needed to be established that the AAP isn’t a one-man party like the others. With this decision, the party still remains a space that has scope for discussions and dialogue,” a party source said.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 3:31:45 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/amanatullah-suspended-vishwas-appeased/article18380029.ece