(Priya James is a seasoned AAP volunteer living in the USA. She scripted, made and edited 200+ videos for its official and unofficial web pages.)
In a series of blogs, I have written that the current crisis in AAP is not about expelling or keeping Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. The crisis may have started with these individuals, but it is not about these individuals any more. It is about the "Idea Of AAP", the very foundation of AAP, where we all stood tall and proud till March 1st.
Today thousands of AAP volunteers are standing disappointed and cheated by their leader's immaturity, arrogance and complete lack of accountability. To understand the anguish of an average volunteer, just listen to this audio that went viral in AAP circles. It's the heartbreaking cry of an AAP volunteer. Now the question is why does an AAP volunteer take this crisis to heart?
The irony is, Arvind Kejriwal (and all of us) wanted a powerful, independent Lokpal which has the power to curtail corruption and victimization of honest people. We wanted a bill that ensure justice and fairness to all, irrespective of power, position including the serving Prime Minister. Yet, AAP let Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan to be expelled from the Political Action Committee without a fair investigation, conveniently ignoring party's internal Lokpal, and letting a few leaders to blatantly abuse their power. No matter what the reasons may be, it is indeed hard to digest for an average AAP volunteer just because of its glaring lack of justice and fairness.
When an AAP volunteer started a Google survey three weeks ago on the current AAP crisis, 11,336 people participated in it, of which 10,906 people were unhappy with the way leaders are handling the situation. 10,767 even agreed that the points raised by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan are relevant. Survey on unitedaap.org shows a large majority of donors are unhappy with the decision. Many surveys & a petition that came after that also showed the same sentiments. In spite of this overwhelming demand for fair investigation, AAP leadership conveniently ignored it and Kejriwal remained silent. This is in contrast to this speech (25:00 - 26:30 seconds) where he says, "In Switzerland if 50,000 people sign on a petition it has to be presented as a bill, while in India even if 500, 000 people sign a petition, our PM won't even sent us an acknowledgment". The irony is that today thousands of volunteers have expressed their opinion through many petitions loud & clear, yet Kejriwal remains silent.
Volunteers who questioned on the fairness and justice are discredited immediately and labelled anti-AAP, pro-Bhushan, anti-Kejriwal, AVAM or BJP agents. Many volunteers who filed RTI are still waiting for a response. Volunteers have been clamoring for the official NC list... absolute no response. On top of all these, there is a deliberate effort to make this crisis into a fight between individuals while it clearly is not. This eagerness to make it into a factional fight is quite unnerving because clearly it shows real issues are being hidden behind false rumors of removal of Kejriwal from Convener position.
Today, the young volunteers who campaigned, debated, danced and convinced voters, friends and family are standing naked in front of the ridiculing crowd and media. Words cannot describe their anguish and sadness. It looks like the volunteers who worked for AAP selflessly are still hanging on to the spirit of Jan Lokpal, while the AAP leaders have moved on to the political games of traditional Indian politics. Ashutosh's blog on "It's a Crisis of Adolescence" even acknowledges this fact openly.
We joined AAP with a hope that we can clean up Indian politics, a political party which is funded with clean money, transparent and democratic. Today, that hope, is at a juncture where values and principles are compromised, volunteer voice silenced, dissent voice muted, leaders abusing their own colleagues, national platforms being misused. It is easy to ignore logorrhea of some leaders, but it is hard to ignore Kejriwal's silence. His silence shouts his approval of all these dirty political games. His continued silence also shows he is leading the way to traditional politics.
March 28, is when NC meeting begins, it will give us a strong clue about AAP's future modus operandi. On that day, we will know if we have a party with difference or just another political party. On that day we will know if our efforts are used for good or we were all being used. On that day we will know if the spirit of Jan Lokpal movement will be upheld or not.
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