The ‘˜sting’ing truth of AAP

A sting operation shows several AAP candidates, including stars of party Shazia Ilmi and Kumar Vishwas, agreeing to donations in cash in lieu of supporting illegal propasals.

Since Aam Aadmi Party’s inception, it has been a matter of speculation whether the party is any different from others. The party, which was carved out of anti-corruption movement, thrived on popular support. It consistently raised issues of corruption and morality attacking its rivals – two big national parties – at each and every opportunity it got.

Just yesterday, we were analyzing (read) whether the party was any different from its adversaries in terms of promises it made via its election manifesto. It came out that it was almost similar to them. Still there was a distinguished line of thought, an experimenting streak for the want of making the country better, which garnered the party support from youth. Even though those promises looked a long shot, people would have thought of giving the debutant AAP a chance.

But the party found itself in a spot after a sting operation revealed that the party was no different from those corrupt parties who hide dark secrets in their alleys.

The sting operation, conducted by a portal Media Sarkar, showed several AAP leaders, including star candidate Shazia Ilmi and campaigner Kumar Vishwas, agreeing to launch offensives against anybody and any institution in order to get donations in cash.

In the video, Ilmi is shown agreeing to participate in false accusations against a company with its rival in lieu of donations in cash. Similarly, Vishwas is shown agreeing to take Rs 50,000 in cash for participating in a stage show. He even mentioned that he “does not feel comfortable without travelling in business class and staying in suits”.

Other candidates who were caught on the sting were Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Dinesh Mohaniya (Sangam Vihar), Irfan Ullah Khan (Okhla), Mukesh Hooda (Rohtas Nagar), and Bhawna Gaur (Palam).

Media Sarkar’s CEO Anuranjan Jha claimed that all these candidates agreed to settle a land deal for cash donation except Prakash who is contesting from Deoli. Prakash did not agree to any illegal proposal. But, as The Hindu reports, the portal sprung to surprise when he suggested that “it would be better if the person (media Sarkar reporter carrying out the sting) spoke to party leader Arvind Kejriwal as it was he who had fielded 70 candidates – all of whom were dummies!”

Jha said that the idea behind the sting was only to show that AAP was no different when it came to indulging in wrongful activities.

Reacting to the issue, AAP had called a quick meeting with its members in the sting demanding explanation yesterday night. Reportedly, Ilmi along with Vishwas and others dismissed the claim. Ilmi even proposed resignation from membership and recusing from election.

Today, AAP held a press conference where Yogendra Yadav said that AAP had called Jha after listening to its members demanding raw tapes to be made available to the party for checking the authenticity of the tapes and taking further action. According to Yadav, Jha asked a written request from them and promised to bring tapes at 11 in the morning to the party office.

Yadav said that Jha later denied providing the tapes at a news channel’s late night show.

Yadav, along with Manish Sisodia and others, said that the fact that Jha was not making the raw tapes available to the party questioned the authenticity of the tapes. He said that his party members were not thick-skinned as seasoned politicians and they were not to be seen in bad light till the authenticity of the tapes is proved.

The party also threatened the portal of legal consequences if it did not submit raw footage to the party by 3pm.To this, Jha has said that he will submit the tapes to Election Commission and copies only to institutions meant for probe and not to a party “which was involved in crime”.

It should be noted that AAP’s funding has been a matter of contention for a long time now. The central government has even ordered checking into AAP’s funding sources.

Gandhian and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had also charged Kejriwal of taking all the money collected at his agitation for election purpose. He had said that Kejriwal was now working for money and power rather than serving people.

Interestingly, AAP’s National Council member Surjeet Dasgupta resigned from his post after the sting operation surfaced citing lack of inner party democracy. The event put the party on backfoot as the youth supports too came out demanding Ilmi’s ouster from the party.

The whole expose has given the adversaries fresh angle to attack AAP. While Congress said that the party was a “one man show’, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that taking “kiraye ke mudde” was not a political party’s work.

Indeed, the way AAP agreed to settle petty issues like land deals and “teaching’ rivals only puts it in the line of bouncers and local goons.

Stung by the operation, AAP has called an emergency meeting at Kejriwal’s house. It will be interesting to see the events that will unfold from hereafter.

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