The dissent brewing within the Bihar unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the selection of alleged “corrupt” candidates could queer its pitch in the Lok Sabha elections.
A section of AAP loyalists associated with the Aam Aadmi ideologies right from the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement claimed that the party distributed tickets to outsiders and people facing corruption charges, ignoring the seasoned party activists having clean image. Some AAP veterans even questioned the credibility of the party’s Pataliputra candidate, Parveen Amanullah.
“Amanullah’s name was involved in the Biada (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority) land scam in 2011 when she was the social welfare minister in the Nitish Kumar government. Neelima Sinha, then a child development project officer (CDPO) at Pilauthu block in Sasaram, had alleged in 2011 that Amanullah had suspended her because she denied co-operating with the corrupt practices in the anganwadi centres in her area. Kavita Kumari, another CDPO from Hajipur, had alleged last year that Amanullah had demanded bribe of Rs 5 lakh from her. The party seems to have forgotten its fundamental ideology. I have asked my followers to ensure corrupt AAP candidates are defeated,” said Keshav Kumar, an advocate at the high court and an active AAP worker.
Amanullah bypassed the allegations but denied any protest against her candidature in the party. “One or two persons in the party might have issues against me but that cannot be the ground for forming any opinion against me,” she said and hung up.
Similar allegations have been made against the AAP candidates from Muzaffarpur, Katihar and Khagaria constituencies. “Dr Prabhat Sharma, the AAP candidate from Muzaffarpur, is basically an outsider. Victor Jha, the candidate from Katihar, faced rape charges in 2006. Also, Khagaria candidate Swami Vivekanad was accused of forgery in 2011,” said a senior AAP worker.
RTI activist from Bhagalpur Ajit Kumar Singh, also an AAP worker since the time of IAC movement, said: “Many people in the party are dissatisfied over the distribution of tickets. There is a feeling that the party had shown some bias in giving tickets to outsiders.”
Somnath Tripathi, the in-charge of AAP (Bihar and Jharkhand), denied the allegations. “We had asked the people making allegations against the candidates to give supportive documents but none could come up with any proof. As tickets can be given to a few, the rest of the aspirants are crying foul,” he said.