New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, there is a crisis within the Aam Aadmi Party over the ticket distribution and workers are mounting their anger against party chief Arvind Kejriwal. AAP rebels will be protesting at Jantar Mantar in the national capital even as Kejriwal is scheduled to hold a rally in Gurgaon.
On Saturday, AAP leader Ilias Azmi returned his Lok Sabha ticket for the Lakhimpur Kheri seat in Uttar Pradesh as he wanted to contest the polls from Lucknow, but the ticket was given to another leader.
The ticket distribution was not the only thing troubling the AAP. There were allegations of cash for tickets which forced the party to axe two of its local office bearers in Uttar Pradesh. At the same time there were protests against Yogesh Dahiya and Atul Kumar Singh, the candidates from Saharanur and Hamirpur, in Uttar Pradesh, respectively even as the party has already withdrawn three of its candidates due to allegations of corruption.
Kejriwal said, "The party has expelled Aruna Singh, convenor of the Awadh Zone and Ashok, treasurer of Hardoi, following allegations that money was demanded on the promise of tickets."
After the party expelled two of its local office bearers in Uttar Pradesh following allegations of corruption, more such allegations surfaced. Armed with FIRs, Abha and Pratibha Sisodia from Saharanpur tore into the claims of the party in front of Kejriwal's residence over the candidature of Dahiya.
Pratibha Sisodia said, "When they confirmed Yogesh Dahiya as a candidate they did not discuss. But now, when we are giving them proof against him, they are say they are discussing. What are they discussing?"
The scene was no different from the one in front of the AAP party office in Connaught Place where party workers and AAP sympathisers were sitting on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the withdrawal of the candidate from Hamirpur.
AAP member Lakhan Singh Yadav said, "Atul Kumar Singh is not reliable. He has betrayed the local office."
Dr Ravikant Pathak, a chemical engineer from IIT, said: "We are protesting against the corruption and the mistakes in ticket distribution in the AAP."
After the AAP has already been forced to withdraw three of its candidates due to allegations of corruption, it might have a bigger problem on its hands after it asked its candidates to raise their own resources. Election funding which is widely regarded as the fountainhead of corruption and by leaving candidates to fend for themselves it might make them vulnerable to temptation.
Dilip Pandey, member of the Selection Committee, said, "Yes we have asked them to raise money. It was made clear during the screening process itself."
The AAP did not follow the candidate selection process that it did during the Delhi Assembly polls for the Lok Sabha elections due to the scarcity of time. And also it does not have the resources yet to fight the general elections on the scale that it dreams of. Despite sending the strong signal, the fear is that this incident might not be an isolated one.