As the Aam Aadmi Party announced its nominees for elections to three Delhi Rajya Sabha seats that it will win, its senior leader Kumar Vishwas went public with his battle against party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying he has been "punished for speaking the truth."
Vishwas was speaking following Aam Aadmi Party's announcement of the three names for the Rajya Sabha seat. Among them are the prominent chartered accountant and former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India N D Gupta, businessman and social activist Sushil Gupta and party functionary Sanjay Singh. Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled to take place on January 16.
Extending his greetings to those nominated for the Upper House, Kumar Vishwas said, ''I extend my good wishes to those who have been nominated by the party for election to Rajya Sabha.''
The Rajya Sabha nominations had led to rift within the AAP with one of the founders Kumar Vishwas expressing interest for nomination. Vishwas was involved in a rift with the top leadership over the issue for the past one year. A group of his supporters barged into the party office at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg last week, demanding that he be nominated for the Upper House.
"For the last one-and-a-half years, be it the PAC (Political Affairs Committee) or my elder brother Arvind Kejriwal’s decision on issues like surgical strike, taking a soft stand on terrorists, his silence on ticket distribution and JNU... whatever truth I spoke, I have been punished today,” Vishwas told the media after the announcement.
Hitting out at Kejriwal the poet-politician said, ''Kejriwal had sometimes back said sir you will be killed but we won’t let you become a martyr’. Today, I congratulate him and accept my martyrdom, (Arvind ne mujhe muskurate huye kaha tha ke 'sir ji aapko marenge par shaheed nahi hone denge' main unko badhai deta hu aur main apni shahadat sweekar karta hu)'' he added.
Vishwas was talking to media soon after his party announced Rajya Sabha nominations. He said that he has been punished for his honest views on various issues like transparency in ticket distribution, insult of AAP members, Indian soldiers and JNU.
The Hindi-language performance poet accused the AAP convener for dominating the party and ignoring its members. "Main janta hu aapki (Kejriwal) icchha ke bina hamare dal mein kuch hota nahi, aapse asehmat reh ke wahan jeevit rehna mushkil hai. Main party, andolan ka hissa hu to ye anurodh karta hu ke shaheed to kardia par iss shav se chhed-chhaad na karen.” (I know that without your (Kejriwal’s) consent, nothing happens in our party and it is difficult to survive while disagreeing with you. I have been ‘martyred’, but I request you not to mutilate this martyr’s body now.)
"I'm speechless, stunned and ashamed," said former AAP leader and Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadav, adding "I used to say, whatever his other faults Arvind Kejriwal cannot be bought... Now I don't know what to say."
The decision to field Singh and the Guptas was taken at Chief Minister Kejriwal's residence in a meeting attended by around 56 party lawmakers this morning. AAP's highest decision making body, the Political Affairs Committee or PAC, met soon after and formally endorsed the decision. Kumar Vishwas, who is a member of the PAC, was not present.
Rajya Sabha elections for the three Delhi seats will be held on January 16. AAP with 67 MLAs in Delhi's 70-member assembly is set to win all three; members of a state's assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.