Somnath Bharti is not the only embarrassment to the Aam Aadmi Party, which was voted back to power by the people of Delhi with such high hopes even after Modi had won the Lok Sabha, decimating the entire opposition.
Almost every other day the name of some elected representative of this party is in the news but always for the wrong reasons. It could be a minister with a fake degree or an MLA or office- bearer charged with rape or some other crime.
What can be a worse sign for a party that its ideological mentors and founding fathers Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav have been thrown out for indulging in anti-party activities. But that act threw out any pretence for a moral qualm in the AAP.
This writer had warned people at the time they were very excited with the new experiment in politics, when AAP was being set up bespeaking that the seeds of its destruction had been sown when the party was being formed.
A party that came into existence on the basis of SMSes had to go this way. The purpose of a primary membership fees of a political party is that the applicant has per force to show his face to the office- bearers and provide a basic Biodata before joining in.
A membership by SMS may have got the AAP the numbers but it also allowed people with shady back ground to enter the party for their selfish ends and use their political clout. No one bothered to find out whether those trying to enter were contractors, smugglers, criminals or morally deprived.
Fortunately they could not misuse their clout in this case for two reasons. One, Arvind Kejriwal does not encourage anyone to use his name. And secondly, the BJP thorough the Lieutenant Governor and other agencies is keeping a close watch on their activities and they are not allowed to create much damage.
But the lack of this basic screening has created many embarrassing moments for those idealists who had left their creative and lucrative jobs to join this movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare when the UPA II had become the symbol of everything wrong with the Indian polity. No political party can function very long on a negative agenda.
Most of them, especially women, have already deserted the AAP to join parties where they are not comfortable but Kejriwal and his close gang did not leave any choice for them.
Some, like Aashutosh and Aashish Khaitan who left their journalistic careers at the peak & who remain with him look clearly embarrassed defending the indefensible most of the time.
By Amitabh Srivastava