New Delhi: Mayank Gandhi, former member of India Against Corruption movement and former National Executive member of the Aam Aadmi Party, has written a ‘strong personal message’ to Arvind Kejriwal, excoriating him for his ‘ego’ and the ambition to become the Prime Minister in 2019.
The message is posted on Gandhi’s blog (http://mayankgandhi05.blogspot.in/) dated April 25, 2017. It is addressed as a “Strong Personal Message” to Kejriwal from “an old friend”. Gandhi’s first line says that a defeat “deals a body blow to arrogance and makes the mind ready to reflect”.
The message recounts how Kejriwal inspired Gandhi to quit his job and join India Against Corruption movement. “I remember how you convinced me to get out of my spiritual pursuit and lead the IAC movement in Maharashtra when we met in November 2011,” the message says. “I remember in mid-2012, when we both were travelling in an auto in Aarey Colony that you told me to quit my job so that I could give full time to the Anna andolan. In spite of my precarious financial situation, I quit my job.”
Gandhi also recounted how both of them were trying to create a model of politics where candidates could be elected without using money, muscle or divisive agenda i.e. without use of caste, communal, criminal or corrupt practices. “That was exactly what AAP attempted in the 2013 and 2015 Delhi elections, successfully. I remember how we used to speak for hours about how the personality or high command driven politics of India was destroying the nation — be it Cong or the BJP or the Thackerays or the Laloo, Mayavati and Mulayam. You hated that, then!”
Gandhi also recounts instances during he was moved to tears, inspired by Kejriwal’s “determination” and refusal to compromise. “Millions like me admired you and were willing to even give up their lives for you. You were our hero. Where is that Arvind?”
However, Gandhi says that in 2014, “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”. Gandhi says they refused and that Kejriwal was “really furious” with them. “You were still my hero, but by now I was getting worried with the way you were operating,” Gandhi writes in the message.
Gandhi further writes that after the 2015 Assembly election sweep, “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.”
According to Gandhi, Kejriwal made a number of missteps including:
1. Deciding to 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
Gandhi further writes that as part of the above strategy, Kejriwal removed Yogendra and Prashant Bhushan from the party, “with the worst possible humiliation”. Gandhi also says that Kejriwal took time to remove him from AAP. “In spite of repeated requests to not punish the superb Maharashtra team to spite me, you threw out the entire Maharashtra AAP committees down to the lowest rung in Oct 2015. Can Modi or Sonia remove an entire State team with just an edict? We have out beaten other parties with our arrogance and internal politicking,” Gandhi wrote.
“Personally, I have closely seen my friend, hero and someone as precious as you become so vicious and ugly because of hunger for power. I have now become afraid of power.”
Gandhi alleges that Kejriwal took complete power by becoming convener as well as CM of Delhi. “How much more power do you want before you start delivering alternative politics?”
“In your pursuit for power, you have betrayed my beloved nation. You have messed up the life of millions who followed you. They gave you complete power –made you convener and CM. Delhi gave you 67 seats just two years back. What more do you want? I do not know whether you know the reality or are living in denial - but are a very unpopular man in the country. If you do more drama, then it is going to get worse and we cannot afford that.”
Gandhi concludes by asking Kejriwal whether he has the strength, integrity and love for the country to genuinely reboot? He also writes that he would “request you to let go of your arrogance and ego for the good of the country? Remember nation first, party next and individuals last. The country needs heroes. Are you one? The battle is between your Ego and the nation. What will you choose?”