Medha Patkar, social activist, resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday, condemning the “insult and unfair treatment” meted out to its founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.
She described the manner of their removal from the party’s national executive as “unfortunate,” “sad” and “disappointing”, and question-ed the party’s “undemocratic” way of functioning.
Ms. Patkar said she had no reason left to stay in the party after the developments in New Delhi, and held that the AAP was behaving just like other national parties.
“We expect that crucial decisions would be taken after discussions. But the way in which Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan were insulted is something I strongly condemn. I believe there was also some jostling and pushing around … some volunteers were not allowed inside ... this is very sad,” Ms. Patkar said.
Medha backs Yadav and Bhushan
Terming the contribution of Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan to the party and its ideology as vast, Ms. Patkar defended the two leaders, recalling their participation in people’s movement and the campaign against corruption.
“I have not known of any instance in which they have been involved in anti-party activities. In fact, these leaders have led the way for the party’s ideology and manifesto,” she told presspersons in her office in Mumbai.
The founding member of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and veteran of many mass movements, Ms. Patkar lamented that though the AAP had secured the mandate in Delhi on two occasions, the party had failed to emerge as the flag-bearer of alternative politics at the national level.
She, however, refrained from targeting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal or his team personally. “I don’t want to make any allegations. We don’t want to wash our dirty linen in public,” she said hoping that Mr. Kejriwal would still “sit and resolve his differences” with other senior members of the party in a democratic manner.
“I still hope that he holds discussions with those with whom he has differences and keeps doing the work he has got the mandate for,” she said.
Commenting on a “sting tape” in which Mr. Kejriwal is heard allegedly abusing Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan, she said its authenticity needed to be verified, but “if it is true it is unfortunate and wrong.” “I would like to hope that Mr. Kejriwal did not use such language,” she said. Ms. Patkar said she did not regret joining the party. She had never accepted any post.
Top AAP leaders who quit
Anjali Damania: Senior leader from Mumbai. She quit on March 11, 2015 after accusing Kejriwal of “horse trading”
Vinod Kumar Binny: Won in the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013 from Laxmi Nagar as AAP candidate but quit in February 2015 after being denied a ministerial berth. He was a candidate for the BJP in the Delhi Assembly polls 2015
Shazia Ilmi: Resigned in May 2014 after losing in the Lok Sabha elections and blamed the party for lack of inner-party democracy. She joined the BJP in January 2015, a few weeks before the Delhi Assembly election.
Captain G.R. Gopinath: The founder of Air Deccan resigned in May 2014 along with Ms. Ilmi citing growing differences with the leadership and criticising Arvind Kejriwal.
Madhu Bhaduri: One of the founding members of AAP, the former Indian ambassador to Portugal quit the party in February 2014 alleging mistreatment of the women leaders.
S.P. Udayakumar: The anti-nuclear activist quit the party in October 2014 alleging the party leadership did not pay attention to the problems of the people in his region of south Tamil Nadu.
Ashok Agarwal: The educationist and child rights lawyer resigned in March 2014 alleging that the party worked like a “private limited company” and accusing it of elitism in the ticket distribution process for the Lok Sabha election.
Maulana Maqsood Ali Kazmi: An AAP’s National Council member at the time, he quit in April 2014 saying that the party was being hijacked by “four or five people who are calling the shots”.