Kumar Vishwas Snubbed at AAP Meet, Says 'Thought Only Congress and BJP Were Scared of me'
This comes at a time when tensions between Kumar Vishwas and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal are on the rise again.
File Photo of AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Sixth National Council meeting concluded on Thursday with the party giving several senior leaders speaking slots.
However, one notable exception was AAP founding member and Rajasthan unit chief Kumar Vishwas.
The poet-turned-politician, who has expressed his displeasure with the party quite openly this year, has been slotted as a speaker in every AAP NC meeting conducted so far. This year, however, he was not included in the party’s official speakers’ list.
When the turn came for state conveners to speak, a handful of National Council members demanded that Vishwas be invited to speak, not in his capacity as Rajasthan chief but as a national-level AAP leader.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia seconded the idea and invited Vishwas to speak. Vishwas, however, declined the offer and refused to speak after being asked thrice. He soon left the meeting but not before taking a jibe at the party. Viswas said, “I thought only Congress and BJP were scared of me.”
He said he would not leave the party and would speak only when he thought the time was ripe.
This comes at a time when tensions between Vishwas and party chief Arvind Kejriwal are on the rise again. After the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, in which the AAP was routed by the BJP, Vishwas had openly criticized the direction the party was taking.
An AAP source told News 18 that Vishwas and Kejriwal had not been on talking terms for about five months when Vishwas decided to break rank and lash out at the party leadership. AAP’s Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, who was also present at AAP’s NC meeting on Thursday, had called Vishwas a “BJP agent” back then, which led Vishwas to threaten that he would quit the party. Kejriwal went to Vishwas’s residence to pacify him. As a compromise, Khan was suspended from the party and Vishwas was given charge of the Rajasthan state unit.
Two days before the NC meeting, Vishwas, in an exclusive interview to News18, had hinted that someone was pulling the strings from behind Khan. He said, “Amanatullah is a leader who has come from the LJP and has been accused of spreading communal hatred. I don’t even want to comment on him. He is just a mask.”
When asked about the NC meeting, he had said, “The agenda of the NC meeting is pretty clear. Sanjay Singh Ji will speak on the economic situation of the country and Ashutosh Ji will speak on political resolutions. This is the first NC meeting in which I am not a speaker, so I will go as a listener. If the party asks me to say something, I will. In the future, we will have to go back to basics. We will have to go back to our values of zero tolerance against corruption, principles of Swaraj and inner-party consensus.”
Meanwhile, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the party had passed a number of resolutions expressing concern on the current political and economic climate of the country.
“We spoke about the economic crisis in the country, the condition of farmers and joblessness among the country’s youth. The AAP National Council concluded that the two main reasons behind the economic slowdown are demonetization and GST. We demand that the Centre clear the Lokpal bill that has been passed by the Delhi Assembly and also bring a Jan Lokpal at the Central level,” he said.
“We are also concerned about the undeclared emergency in the country today in which courageous journalists are being killed, editors are being pressured. This is an assault on free speech. AAP wants the Election Commission to conduct all forthcoming elections to be held with VVPAT machines in at least 25% of all booths,” he added.
Kejriwal, who arrived later in the evening, said, “Two governments were elected with high popularity – the AAP government in Delhi and the BJP government at the centre. There were high expectations from both. BJP did nothing for any section of society. But people are talking about AAP’s efforts in health and education.” He added that AAP volunteers will be asked to help out in Mohalla Clinics and Delhi government schools.
Speaking on the upcoming Gujarat elections, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said that the party would contest elections on 25 seats in the western state. He said the aim is to have capable people inside the Gujarat assembly who would raise the people’s issues.
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