NEW DELHI: In 2002, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal authored a book named ‘Swaraj’ that questioned the existing democratic framework in India and proposed a way how the people of India can attain true Swaraj (self-rule). But it appears that Indian social activist-turned politician is now allergic to the word that he decided to remove it from party’s website.

The expelled member of the Aam Aadmi Party Yogendra Yadav launched the Swaraj movement in AAP. However, the party has shed the Swaraj tag and quietly deleted the paragraph from its digital space. 

The entire paragraph that said, “Democracy is popular self rule, but the current practice of democracy negates this ideal and reduces the citizens to mere subjects. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) aims to restore power to the people, so as to realise the promise of Swaraj enshrined in our Constitution,” has been now removed from the webpage that enrolls members/volunteers for AAP.

The paragraph was earlier followed by another one which read, “I am a citizen of India. I am above 18 years of age. I am not a member of any political party. I believe in the objectives and thinking of the party and I am willing to fully participate in achieving the objective of the party.” The enroller had to first check the box besides this text and then complete the enrolment procedure. 

Speaking on the deletion of Swaraj word from the website, former AAP Thane Municipal District Convener Vikrant Karnik said, “They can continue to argue that Swaraj is there in the Constitution of the party. By removing word Swaraj from the enrolment procedure, AAP wants to in a roundabout way communicate to new members that Swaraj is no more a priority for the party.”

As expected, AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai who stated that Swaraj was part of the Constitution and also the ideology of the  party refused to comment specifically on the removal of Swaraj from the online enrollment page. “I am not aware about this but I could say this that deletion of the word Swaraj may not have been done deliberately,” Deepak Bajpai commented.

The optimists who have either left AAP or are on the edge of leaving believe that Arvind Kejriwal’s party has made various tweaks to the party procedure which according to them is undemocratic and lacks transparency.

Ridiculing the autocratic approach of AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal, Maharashtra unit of AAP, one of the founding members, Maruti Bhapkar on Monday resigned the party along with 376 activists. 

In a press conference in Pune, Bhapkar announced loyalty to ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ launched by expelled leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav.

Previously, any angry member who was not satisfied with the decision of party secretary could directly approach the Lokpal or Lokayukta on their complaint.

However, the website of AAP now mentions that the members could send their complaints to the Lokpal/Lokayukta through the party secretary without mentioning that they could directly approach them in case they are continue to be aggrieved.

“Only if the party Constitution mentions that members could approach Lokpal/Lokayukta, there is no issue that the website does not mention it,” Bajpai added.

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