In a major jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Uttarakhand that may well put a question mark over its future in the state, more than 50 of its members, including some senior leaders, quit the party on Thursday and formed their own breakaway group — Hamara Uttarakhandjan Manch (HUM) — through which they plan to raise issues of public importance and also explore the option of contesting the forthcoming elections.
Resentment and dissent within AAP’s Uttarakhand unit had been brewing for the the past few months. A few weeks earlier, over 150-odd members had quit to join the Congress. Anoop Nautiyal, who was arguably the most visible face of the party and the president of its state committee till he resigned some weeks back, was among those who said goodbye to Arvind Kejriwal’s party on Thursday. He alleged that even though he raised several issues like the tea garden takeover while in AAP, he did not receive any support from the party. “The entire focus of AAP is on BJP-ruled states, while Uttarakhand, its people and AAP leaders of the state are nowhere in the priority list of either Arvind Kejriwal or the party’s national leadership,” Nautiyal claimed.
He asserted that for “no reason whatsoever”, dedicated party members were being shown the door in Uttarakhand. “There are people who despite financial constraints and opposition from their family took up the cause of fighting corruption and supporting Kejriwal in the mission. However, after devoting almost three years, we realized that we do not even exist for the party leadership,” he added. The rebel group also uploaded a video on YouTube addressed to Kejriwal elaborating the reasons why they were leaving.
Meanwhile, AAP leaders in the state sought to play down the development. “Even after our party had won the assembly elections in Delhi, some senior leaders had quit. But it did not make any difference. It will be a similar situation here too. In fact, six of the members who are a part of this new forum had been expelled from AAP in July,” AAP spokesperson Rajesh Bahuguna said.