A group, formed by AAP volunteers who had been “shunned” by the party, was endorsed by AAP founder member Shanti Bhushan and former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi on Tuesday.
In a video released by the group ‘AAP Volunteer Action Manch’ (AVAM), Bhushan says, “AVAM is a good organisation which had come emerged within the party so that volunteers’ grievances and demands could be taken up. This is very important…”
In June, a group of AAP volunteers who were dissatisfied with the party’s functioning had come together to form AVAM in order to air their concerns. The group was also backed by Ilmi, who had resigned from AAP alleging “lack of internal democracy”.
On Tuesday, Ilmi said, “Even though I am no longer associated with the party, I am supporting AVAM and so is Shanti Bhushan. They support the cause of inner-party democracy and this is a good cause. I have know many of them for a long time and was involved in several volunteer endeavours…”
Meanwhile, the AAP downplayed the development. Maintaining the party’s stand, AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said, “The AAP does not endorse any such group. We do not know what kind of conversation Shantiji had with the volunteers, but at no point in the video has he alleged anything against the party.”
Earlier, the AAP had issued a statement distancing itself from the group. “AVAM has been launched by people who claim this to be the official channel for soliciting volunteer feedback and grievances. AAP would like to categorically state that it DOES NOT endorse this channel/organisation. This can be an attempt by politically motivated mindsets to create confusion and to acquire AAP volunteer data,” the statement read.
However, AVAM members claimed that they were in talks with senior AAP leaders and hoped they would openly support AVAM’s cause.
The group also met senior AAP leader Pankaj Gupta last month and raised concerns regarding people’s perception of the AAP.
“During out interaction with the public we get an impression that the AAP is fast losing its image of being different from other parties… We feel highly concerned… at the prospect of failing the millions of dreams…,” the AVAM memorandum submitted to Gupta stated.