Minimal political interference in protests most beneficial: Durgesh Pathak

AAP’s Karawal Nagar candidate Durgesh Pathak says area suffered under Congress and BJP rule

Updated - January 23, 2020 06:46 am IST

Published - January 23, 2020 12:54 am IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI, 19/01/2020: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Durgesh Pathak during an interview to The Hindu in New Delhi on Sunday, 19 January 2020. Photo: V.V. Krishnan / The Hindu

NEW DELHI, 19/01/2020: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Durgesh Pathak during an interview to The Hindu in New Delhi on Sunday, 19 January 2020. Photo: V.V. Krishnan / The Hindu

Minimal political interference in public protests is usually the best course of action, said Durgesh Pathak — the youngest member of the Aam Aadmi Party’s Political Affairs Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body — during an interview with The Hindu .

Mr. Pathak, who is fighting the upcoming Assembly elections from Karawal Nagar, when asked why AAP is not protesting on the ground against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or the violence in Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “Many times, in public protests, it is beneficial if there is not too much political interference... In the Anna Hazare movement also, we did not allow any political party on stage. If that had happened, then the gravity of the matter would have been lost... We are supporting [the protests] and our leaders are also going there and we will be there whenever needed.”

Mr. Pathak, who was in-charge of AAP’s campaign in 35 of the 70 constituencies in the 2015 elections, also talked about the people who had left the party, and how AAP had evolved over the past seven years.

“People move out for different reasons... for ambition.. or they feel something is theirs and when they do not get it they feel angry. People who left AAP for the second reason did not keep country and society first, but kept the individual first,” he said.

On allegations by those who had left the party that there was no internal democracy in AAP, he said: “When they kept getting things from the party, there was internal democracy, and when they stopped getting it, there was no internal democracy. This cannot be the definition of internal democracy.”

Mr. Pathak added that in the last seven years, the party had become more patient and mature. “Earlier, we used to react to everything. Now, we do things with more thought and discussion. Since we are in power, we know that we can do a lot of things. Not just ending corruption, but we can also make a good State,” he said.

Eye on other States

The AAP leader added that the party will be open to the idea of contesting elections in other States after the Delhi elections. No top leader of the party had gone to campaign in the Assembly election in Haryana.

He said that former AAP MLA from Karawal Nagar, Kapil Mishra, who turned a rebel after the first two years, had affected the constituency in a “big way”.

Mr. Mishra was disqualified from the Delhi Assembly in August 2019. He was suspended from the party in May 2017 and since then has been openly critical of the party, though he remained an MLA till he was disqualified.

“This constituency was with the BJP for about 15 years when the Congress was ruling Delhi, even when we came to power, Mr. Mishra was with us for only 18 months. Because of this, the area is very backward. You will not find a big hospital, park or school here. The roads and sewer lines are broken,” he said, adding that he has been working for the development of the area for the last eight months and coordinating with the government to get basic projects started.

“Water was an issue... so, one underground water reservoir will be opened this month. My focus was on basic things such as roads and water. Now, I will focus on setting up an industrial area and developing the Yamuna front near Signature Bridge,” he said. Mr. Pathak also attacked the BJP and said that the party’s candidate “works only for a particular religion or caste... whereas I am all inclusive”.

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