On Thursday, Aam Aadmi Party decided to disband the party’s Maharashtra unit prompting the senior Maharashtra leader Mayank Gandhi to openly criticise the party’s national leadership.
Soon after the announcement, Gandhi tweeted:
Two types of politics ~one that works with the people on ground and other that do 'chaplusi' in Delhi. The second type has won. Jai Ho !
— Mayank Gandhi (@mayankgandhi04) October 1, 2015
Minutes later he tweeted again saying that ‘Beautifully functioning maharashtra teams dissolved. Sad that politics has won!’
Later, while speaking to jantakareporter.com over the phone, Gandhi said that there was no need to disband Maharashtra unit of AAP as it was functioning quite well. He said that the decision was taken because the AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal ‘didn’t like him.’
He said, “I’m neither a part of Maharashtra unit nor Mumbai unit of the party. But being a National Executive member, I could see the units were functioning quite well. It was actually one of the best functioning units in the country and doing plenty of activities with great harmony. Apparently Arvind was very upset with the blog I had written in March. Arvind was carrying grudges against me because of that and wanted to remove me from the party, but the Maharashtra unit was clear in their support for me and told the leaders that they wanted to work with me. Hence, the decision to dissolve the entire unit.”
Another senior leader of AAP in Mumbai, Preeti Sharma Menon, disagreed with Gandhi adding that the state unit was ‘in such a mess that the national leadership had no option but to disband it altogether and rebuild the organisation afresh.’
She told jantakareporter.com, “It’s really disturbing that Mayank has made this issue so personal against Arvind Kejriwal. After Pankaj Gupta and Asutosh were asked to manage Maharashtra unit, they were inundated with complaints from volunteers. Soon they realised that the state unit was in such a mess that the only solution was to disband the party and start afresh. When faced with the similar situation in Punjab, we did the same. And the revamping the organisation in Punjab has done wonders for us. So the national leadership has decided to do the same in Maharashtra.”
Gandhi said that the other reason behind disbanding Maharashtra unit may have been because it had ‘passed a resolution asking Kejriwal to take back Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan around a fortnight after they were sacked.’
He added, “While Asutosh and Pankaj Gupta were here the state committee told them that the party had turned into Arvind Alone Party and lot of personification was being done. We told them that Arvind needed to do some urgent course correction. With that in mind the Political Affairs Committee on Thursday monring decided to disband the whole Maharashtra unit.”
Blaming his Mumbai colleague, Gandhi said that Menon had been spreading wrong information about him to the national leadership. He said that Kejriwal had stopped taking his phone calls months ago and the decision to dissolve Maharashtra unit smacked of ‘high command culture in AAP.’
He said, ” It’s not right because this very high command culture we had to come to fight. Somewhere I think the arrogance has crept into our leaders. Two months ago Asutosh and Pankaj Gupta met me in Delhi and told me to quit the party. They said that Arvind didn’t like the way I had written the blog in March. I said I will not leave the party. If you want, then sack me. I don’t get this. If Advani and Joshi can coexist for decades and Indira Gandhi and Sitaram Kesri can work together for nunumber of years, why can’t we.”
Menon rubbishes Gandhi’s charges adding that she was ‘incredibly flattered by the importance Gandhi had attached to her existence in the party.’
She said, “rejigging the organisation doesn’t affect Mayank’s position as he continues to remain the National Executive member. It will help the party and he should be supporting the initiative. Why’s he calling Arvind gutter politician and a dictator? He’s a friend with Pankaj Gupta and has been privy to all the discussion which led us to arrive at this decision. Entire national leadership deliberated this issue. The PAC too had their input. All has been done keeping in mind as to how we should take the AAP Maharashtra forward.”
Denying that he ever called Kejriwal a gutter politician, Gandhi said that he will quit politics if sacked by the AAP.
“No question of joining Yogendra Yadav or any other political party,” he added.
Soon after the party’s historic win Delhi elections, the AAP had asked Kumar Vishwas to look after Maharshtra as he was deemed to be acceotable to both factions there.
But, Gandhi supporters say that they were surprised when in June the party decided to make Pankaj and Asutosh to manage the state. Some felt that this decision was responsible for causing the ‘chaos’ in the state unit.
Kejriwal loyalists allege that Gandhi, as part of Mission Vistaar, had appointed known critics of Delhi chief minister at key organisational posts.
In his blog on 4 March, Gandhi had criticised Kejriwal for the ‘public ouster of YY and PB’ from the PAC.