“Seems, madam? Nay, it is; I know not seems. ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage. These indeed seem.” These lines from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet aptly describe the state of Aam Aadmi Party today for which times seem bleak. Just when infighting rocked the Punjab unit of AAP, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had to sack his third minister. Then came the Delhi High Court judgment setting aside the appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as chief parliamentary secretaries. Twelve of his legislators have faced arrest on various charges. This could not have come at a worse time, because polls in Punjab are a few months from now. Party cadres have crossed swords with each other in some places, with videos and pictures pointing to AAP leaders’ corrupt deals.
The Suchha Singh Chhotepur episode alone has hurt the party to an extent that damage seems irreparable. The party leadership, that was expected to dispel any misgiving with intellectual bandwidth, seems to have fallen into a trap laid by other political parties that were baying for its blood.
For sure, AAP’s victory in Delhi was an eye-opener for other parties. Political pundits were of the opinion that if there would be a challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in times to come, it would be none other than Arvind Kejriwal. Ironically, however, the brute majority in Delhi has failed to give any respite to AAP from the Centre’s gameplan of steady strangulation with the help of ever-willing security agencies and uncooperative civic bodies. To add to it Delhi police is under the tutelage of the Centre.
Now politicians, cutting across the political spectrum, have joined hands to create a fourth front, Awaaz-e-Punjab, giving a new dimension to Punjab politics as it heads for the Assembly poll in early 2017. Former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, suspended Akali MLA Pargat Singh, Independent MLAs Balwinder Singh Bains and Simarjit Singh Bains and the breakaway faction of AAP, Democratic Swaraj Party, have formed the outfit to save Punjab from those who have destroyed it through corruption, deceit and moral turpitude. Sidhu, who has floated the front despite AAP’s overtures to bring him into its fold, alleges that Kejriwal wants only yes men. This has left AAP leaders stunned. Interestingly, they claim Awaaz-e-Punjab has not yet been turned into a political party. This may be a tactical move, say observers, because its mission is touted to be a drug-free Punjab and corruption-free governance. With all these developments, AAP seems completely in turmoil, not only in Punjab but in the country.