Like Anna, you were a symbol of the aspirations of an awakened nation. A symbol of the principles of Participation, Accountability, Transparency, Decentralization and Integrity. A symbol of the anger we all felt against the other parties that worked with the 4C (corruption, communalism, criminalization and casteism). AAP became a symbol of the fight of crores of our countrymen against the corrupt parties.
In 2014 you resigned as CM of Delhi hoping that there would be immediate re-election and that AAP would sweep back to power on the back of 49 days of good, intense work. But BJP and Cong delayed the election and Modi swept to power in Parliament. To the worry of myself, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Prithvi, Admiral Ramdas and others – you started pushing all senior members to agree to form government with the Congress. We refused. You were really furious with us. You were still my hero, but by now I was getting worried with the way you were operating.
Then the 2015 Delhi elections were announced. While you had around 5000 volunteers from Delhi working part-time with the candidates; I was part of the leadership of over 6000 volunteers from all over the country, campaigning full time for more than a month. The silent volunteers, the trusting donors, ardent supporters, tele-callers from Rural India to Global Indians contributed and even Yogendra Yadav who was our Chief Spokesperson contributed for AAP victory. What looked like a possible 15-20 seats to AAP suddenly became 67 seats.
This is when you made THE classic mistake. You took the complete credit and felt that the support of the nation was for Arvind Kejriwal, the person. You assumed that you were the pied piper whom people were following, but in fact it was the music of a new political culture that had people enchanted.
Arvind, the unselfish hero who would never compromise, was dead. In his place was a politician who wanted to manipulate that support to fuel his ambition to become a PM in 2019. You and your coterie decided
- You will be CM but not take any portfolio and focus outside Delhi trying to create a mahagatbandhan to challenge the PM, with you as the face.
- Use the MLAs and senior functionaries outside Delhi to try and win more states. The lack of governance in Delhi due to this fallout was to be blamed on the LG and Central Government.
- Erase the difference between private and public money. Use public money for personal advertising, personal expenditure, fly First class, fight personal cases and whenever this gets questioned – point fingers at other parties.
- Win at any cost! If Swaraj comes in the way – throw it away. If appeasement works – do it. If caste politics gets you the votes – embrace it. If too many questions are asked – remove the donation list. If money is required, sell seats. Power is more important than principles.
- Project Kejriwal as a strong leader. Personally attack Modi at every instance so that you would appear like a daring contestant and be able to create a vote bank of anti-Modi votes.
- To further look like a strong leader, remove anyone and everyone from the party that has a differing point of view. As Ashutosh told me – there should be one voice only in the party and anyone opposing should be dealt in a manner that would give a message that this party deals summarily with anyone who opposes the supremo.
As a part of the above strategy, you began by removing Yogendra and Prashant from the party with the worst possible humiliation.