New Delhi: A day after the MCD drubbing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) went back to the drawing board. Punjab and Goa elections were blamed on the EVM, but Delhi was different. The total vote count of AAP and Congress was more than that of BJP and thus EVM blame game was losing credence. The MLAs too realised for themselves that the charm of Arvind Kejriwal and that of the party was on the wane.
But even as the deliberations began with the MLAs and the PAC, it was fast becoming clear that unquestionable hold of Arvind Kejriwal was waning on the party. These were early signs, Kumar Vishwas was becoming the other pole of the party.
But Kapil Mishra was another case. He wasn't as big a crowd puller as Kumar, but he was clearly at odds with Arvind. Many of those close to the party could sense that the trouble was brewing, but none had imagined it would spiral into him alleging that Satyendra Jain paid Arvind Kejriwal Rs 2 crore in cash.
When Arvind Kejriwal had first launched his party at the height of the Lokpal Movement, he went on a 'shoot and scoot' mission against all the top leaders ranging from the Gandhi family to Jaitley to Sheila Dikshit to Gadkari. This did earn him a momentum and a host of defamation suits; today, this is what his own disgruntled team member is doing to him.
The fact that Kejriwal was personally handed over cash by Jain is something which is difficult to believe. Not for any reasons of probity or anything such but the very fact that even if such a deal took place it would have happened through other handlers and not between the leaders themselves. But this brings to a larger issue at hand.
The answer probably lies more in electoral politics. A dictator leader was accepted and fawned upon till such a time that his name got votes.
But the defeat of the AAP in Punjab, Goa and then Delhi made it clear that Arvind's name is not enough to win the election. And thus his unquestioned authority over the party is under pressure.
Dissidence is growing, leaders are speaking out and in many cases the personal ambition of other leaders are on open display.
This is probably the toughest phase for the AAP since its inception. There is a chance that the party might disintegrate, but if it doesn't, the masks would be off. Arvind Kejriwal would discover who are his real friends in the party.