AAP’s Rajya Sabha troubles

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can win all the three Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant in January but intense factionalism appears to be tying its hands to nominate partymen and force the leadership to look for outsiders.

Speculation is rife that AAP may approach former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan with an offer to send him to the Upper House as sources said an informal decision has been taken to deny tickets to any of its leaders.

Though some leaders are claiming that such a move to nominate eminent people would enhance party’s image at the national level, sources said intense lobbying for the posts is one reason why the party leadership is looking at such an option.

Kumar Vishwas, who has positioned himself against Delhi Chief Minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal, has already indirectly staked claim for a seat while his detractors are in no mood to give him a free hand. Senior leaders Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Dileep Pandey, whom Vishwas claim are against him, are among the other possible faces.

However, sources said selecting three from the senior leaders would be a difficult task and it could expose the faultlines in the party once again. The party had just re-grouped after the electoral reverses in Assembly elections and Delhi civic body elections.

AAP, with 65 seats in a 70-member Assembly, can get all the three candidates into Rajya Sabha.

Sources said choosing any top leader could also send a wrong message to the cadre as it be projected as cornering plum posts by a coterie around Kejriwal. Vishwas has been amplifying this aspect that a coterie is trying to fix him while a section has already approached Kejriwal against any move to promote the poet-turned-politician.

After his rebellion earlier this year, Vishwas was made in-charge of Rajasthan but he is yet to get back his clout in the central leadership. At the National Council meet here earlier this month, he was not given a slot to speak.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Nov 9, 2017)

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