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Kumar Vishwas should thank his stars that he is not in Kapil Mishra's plight

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 3 November 2017, 17:41 IST
(File photo)

There is a good amount of irony in poet and Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas's attempts to portray himself as a victim of conspiracy within the party. A gradual campaign to contain his role and influence in the party might indeed be going on, but that is only in response to his own efforts that would have destabilised AAP not long ago.

Six months ago, AAP's Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan had alleged that Vishwas was trying to break AAP, that he was lobbying with several MLAs to replace Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as party convenor and that he was also offering MLAs Rs 30 crore each to defect and join the BJP.

Taken aback by the allegations, Vishwas had thrown a tantrum and forced the top leadership to suspend Khan temporarily. However, Khan continued to receive the support and patronage of senior leaders. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met him at the latter's residence and later, the MLA was also made the chief of a key committee of the Delhi Assembly.

Even that suspension has now been revoked, rendering Khan's formal rehabilitation in the party complete. Vishwas, it seems, has been left hanging out to dry. The party has not said it formally, but the message being unmistakably given out is that it believes in Khan's allegations.

A failed coup

In May, sources in AAP had told Catch that an internal coup against the party's incumbent leadership, especially Kejriwal, had indeed been planned. AAP's MLA from Karawal Nagar, Kapil Mishra, was allegedly at the helm of this campaign and was playing into the BJP's hands to destabilise the AAP-government in Delhi. 

Mishra eventually had a very public falling out with Kejriwal and other senior leaders and his image has now been reduced to simply a failed rebel. The party has not expelled him because it will bring down its strength in the Assembly, but he is an outsider now for all practical purposes.

In fact, his situation is worse than a mere outsider because he has neither joined any other party nor has any place within his own.

From the looks of it, Vishwas should be thankful that he is not in the same position. He continues to be a member of AAP's National Executive and Political Affairs Committee and is in charge of the party's election campaign in Rajasthan. None of the party's top leaders have spoken ill about him in public, be it Kejriwal or Sisodia or others like Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai and Ashutosh, among others.

A swollen head

AAP still clearly wants Vishwas within its camp. That is the very reason why Kejriwal went all the way to the poet's residence to placate him six months ago. A powerful orator, Vishwas commands the attention of a large number of AAP's followers and has a history of camaraderie with the party's founders, including Kejriwal and Sisodia.

However, Vishwas appears to have become too self conscious of his capabilities. Some of the assertions that he has made recently do no justice to his cause.

No responsible politician publicly asserts his own candidature for a Rajya Sabha seat for himself. 

It also does not behoove somebody who has contested only one election, that too unsuccessfully, to boast of his crowd-pulling capabilities in the way that Vishwas does.

In allowing him to retain his roles and position within the party, AAP has so far tried to indicate to Vishwas that he continues to enjoy a relatively high level of trust. It will do him well to stop his tirades and arrogant assertions of his talent and abilities. The fate that has befallen Kapil Mishra could be a good reference point.

First published: 3 November 2017, 17:41 IST
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.