AAP ‘units’ mushroom in Kolkata

With the Aam Aadmi Party assuming power in Delhi, West Bengal has started witnessing the party's proliferation with each claiming to be the original representative.

While two units — in Dum Dum and in Howrah — are constantly vying for people's support, another one at Malancha Road in Kharagpur, the IIT wing from where party chief (and now Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal graduated in 1989, is claiming to have recognition of the parent party in Delhi.

Supporters of each unit, meanwhile, throng the streets wearing party caps, and could be seen organising rallies, only to create confusion in the minds of people who even suspect that some of these units may have their own vested interests.

Party leaders in Delhi admit that this is sending a wrong message to the people.

"You see, AAP is a movement based on principles, and people are free to join the movement and participate in the programmes organised by the state unit. But here, we, the ones affiliated with the national party, are left confused as there are other people organising rallies, projecting themselves as party cadres, and participating in panel discussions on TV channels. We have informed the central leadership about this,'' Sangeeta Das, who claims to be the AAP spokesperson in Kolkata, told The Indian Express.

Das, who runs the AAP helpline, also clarified that the party had no relationship with the signature campaign and membership drive launched by some people at Esplanade area today.

Atal Ashutosh, a student of IIT-Kharagpur who was actively involved during the AAP movement in Delhi and is close to Arvind Kejriwal, rued the fact that so many units have sprung up in West Bengal. "It seems some people with vested interests are doing this. We want to make it clear that the party has its rules and a constitution, and by just wearing its cap you don't become a member,'' he said.

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