A tussle has erupted between the Aam Aadmi Party and the party’s Delhi MLA Colonel Devinder Sehrawat, after Sehrawat wrote a letter to AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that women in Punjab were being exploited in return for tickets to fight the Assembly polls in the state next year.
Sehrawat, who is still an AAP member, told The Sunday Guardian about his experience in the party, its “autocratic” manner of functioning and the letter he wrote. He said that he had gone public with the letter due to the “serious nature” of the matter involving “women’s exploitation”. “In my letter, I have not made any allegations. It is a simple letter of statements that was asking for a more proactive approach by the party. The case here is of oppression and abuse of authority. But, since people in authority do not like any sort of suggestion which is at variance with theirs, it shows the kind of drawbacks in the current policy,” he said.
Asked whether he has any evidence to support his claims in the letter, he said, “Every day, evidenc is tumbling out in Punjab. Instead of asking for evidence, they (AAP) should have acted on my letter. I had told them, if they (AAP) want to take me to court, please take me I will justify there. I am not a sting master nor am I an investigating agency. I had simply wanted the party to know what I gathered from the ground in Punjab by speaking to the people there.”
The AAP has, however, said that by making the letter public, Sehrawat wanted to cause damage to the party in Punjab as he has “close contacts” with Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, who were earlier ousted from the party following their differences with Arvind Kejriwal and others.
Sehrawat rubbished the allegations against him as “baseless” and “wild”. “I had only been focusing on my constituency. The party leadership tried its level best to torment me and break me down completely. They had placed four MLAs like Naresh Yadav, Dinesh Mohaniya, etc to work in my constituency and belittle me in front of my constituents. I had never raised my voice because my responsibility is towards the people of my constituency,” he said.
He also alleged that the party is singling him out because he had supported Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav when they were “forcibly” thrown out of the party. Sehrawat also accused party supremo Arvind Kejriwal of being a “megalomaniac”. “This is the only party that has put the face of its leader in its party flag; even Mayawati does not do that. This is the kind of megalomania that this party believes in,” Sehrawat added.
Since the letter was put out in the public domain, the AAP and its MLA have been washing dirty linen in public. The party has also asked Sehrawat to quit the party if he has problems with its functioning.
However, Sehrawat is not willing to quit the party since he is its founding member and believes that he has been instrumental in forming the party. He has also said that such comments from the party only reek of “arrogance” and it would lead to the party’s downfall.
“I am one of the founder members of the party and when Arvind Kejriwal was just carrying a bag and going around as a member of the IAC (India against Corruption), I had taken them around to some of the remotest places in Delhi when nobody even knew them. People like Sanjay Singh who have become big netas now, joined the party after me. I was instrumental in the formation of the party. Why should I quit?”
He also criticised AAP senior leader Ashutosh for writing a blog in favour of Sandeep Kumar, who was recently arrested for an alleged “sex scandal” that surfaced last week and termed it as an “immature” act. Sehrawat also criticised the AAP government in Delhi, saying that no work has been done in the past 20 months that the party has been in power. He added that the rural people of Delhi would soon hold a massive protest against the Kejriwal government.