Senior Advocate and one of the petitioners in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, HS Phoolka has resigned from the Aam Admi Party (AAP). He tweeted, “I have resigned from AAP & handed over resignation to Kejriwal ji today. Though he asked me not to resign but I insisted. Will be briefing media tomorrow at 4 pm at Press Club, Raisina Rd, New Delhi to explain the Reason of leaving AAP & my further plans.”
I have resigned from AAP & handed over resignation to Kejriwal ji today. Though he asked me not to resign but I insisted.
Will be briefing media tomorrow at 4pm at Press Club, Raisina Rd, New Delhi to explain the Reason of leaving AAP & my further plans.
— H S Phoolka (@hsphoolka) January 3, 2019
Phoolka’s resignation comes a few days after the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution seeking withdrawal of Bharat Ratna from late Rajiv Gandhi for his comments that tried to “justify” the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. However, later on, the AAP clarified that no such resolution was passed. The AAP has not denied coalition prospects with the Congress. It has stated that the political affairs committee of the party will take a call on this issue after taking the opinion of its leaders and workers from Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana.
HS Phoolka wrote a two-line letter to Kejriwal, which stated, “I am resigning from membership of Aam Aadmi Party. I thank you for giving me an opportunity to serve the party.” When asked if he had resigned on account of the AAP’s decision to not support the resolution in the Delhi Assembly which sought withdrawal of the Bharat Ratna title from Rajiv Gandhi due to his comments about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, HS Phoolka said, “This was not the only reason.” Therefore, it might have been one of the reasons for his resignation. Phoolka represented the victims in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and the AAP, on the other hand, does not seem to be giving much attention towards the issue. It is possible that Phoolka might have got disenchanted due to such reprehensible attitude of the Kejriwal led party.
It is also being speculated that one of the reasons behind Phoolka’s resignation could be the possibility of the AAP and the Congress coming together in an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In an interview with Times of India last week HS Phoolka had said, “It was a mistake to join politics in 2014. I should not have done it. I thought that there would be a common platform against the Congress. Had I not reconsidered my decision and resigned (as the leader of opposition in Punjab assembly) to pursue this case July 2017 onwards when the hearing started, we may not have seen this result.”
It seems that on account of Kejriwal’s dictatorial attitude, another party leader has resigned from the party. Several major faces of the party have resigned from the Kejriwal led party on regular intervals and Phoolka’s resignation only adds to that list. AAP has virtually become a one-man show. Several prominent personalities have left AAP because of its chief’s autocratic style of functioning. Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar, Ajit Jha, Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania, Capt. G.R. Gopinath, Ashutosh, and Ashish Ketan are some of the prominent faces who got disenchanted with AAP and Kejriwal and left the party. According to various media reports, it had been reported that the incumbent Delhi CM AAP Arvind Kejriwal may get his term extended as the National Convener of the party. The party is expected to bring an amendment in its constitution to remove the limit of two terms for being an office bearer. This means that Kejriwal would be able to continue as the party chief for unlimited terms. Arvind Kejriwal was elected as AAP’s national convener for the second time in April 2016 for three years. Kejriwal’s term will come to an end in April 2019.
According to the party constitution, “No member will hold the same post as an office bearer for more than two consecutive terms of three years each.”
It is clear that the AAP is not at all the democratic political party that it had promised to be. Therefore, the party is facing resignations at regular intervals. It is clear that those who had joined the party on its promise of setting new standards in internal democracy are getting disenchanted due to its autocratic functioning. We can expect more resignations if Kejriwal keeps on leading the party in a dictatorial manner.