Aam Aadmi Party and Andamans
Who Fits the Cap?
By Zubair Ahmed
There is a long line of candidates for an officially non-existent party in the Islands. As usual, all eyes and ears are on Delhi, waiting for the call announcing the messiah, who will resurrect the Islands. But, the internecine warfare and bickering among the groups does not send any positive vibes about Aam Aadmi Party, the new sensation of India!
Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal gave rise to a new wave of hope among the common man throughout the country. Conquering Delhi further jacked up expectations from the party. There was a mad rush for candidature of the party for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. Though Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not find space in the scheme of things, there are self-proclaimed leaders wooing for candidature of the party.
The public fed up with the two majors - BJP and Congress - are however skeptical about the credentials about those who are trying to impose themselves as messiahs donning the cap of Aam Aadmi Party. The eerie silence of the national echelons of the party is further deafening and creating more chaos and in the meanwhile undermining credibility of the party in the Islands. The cockfight between different groups and aspiring candidates are all in the open for everyone to watch.
Prakash Minj, a leader from Ranchi Community who had launched his own party - Jankranti Party (JKP) after breaking away from Congress and Bishnu Pada Ray jumped into the fray soon after Aam Aadmi Party was launched. He even announced merger of his own party with AAP. His office and vehicle started donning the name of AAP. One Mr Chattopadhyay, who claimed to be a pioneer of the party in the Islands became the Convenor. Ram Babu, a party-hopper finally landed at the doors of JKP which declared itself to be the AAP of the Islands.
Sanjay Meshack, a Congress PRI member, Up-Pramukh, Prothroepur Zilla Samithi could not resist the opportunity and resigned from the Congress party and opted to reap the benefits of the new party. This created an uproar among Prakash Minj supporters. However, they suppressed their desire and attended meetings called by Sanjay Meshack supporters. But when his name was proposed by his supporters for the candidature of AAP, heartburn started among Prakash Minj and his supporters. They walked out of the meeting.
"The seat will declared in a day or two and I am hopeful that I will get the seat," said Sanjay Meshack. "Nobody can vouch for anyone in the Islands and we will have to wait and see," he said. "I will support anyone else if they get the ticket," he answered when asked if he doesn't get the ticket.
"I am waiting for the good news from Delhi and I have no issues with any other group," Prakash said. When asked if someone else gets the seat, Prakash said that he will have to consult his supporters before taking a decision.
There has been a series of reconciliation meetings among various groups, but everyone is craving for the seat which seems not coming from Delhi.
No sooner, another well wisher of AAP, Col. Cherian came to the picture and tried to bring sanity among the warring groups, but he too had to finally form a committee declaring all others null and void. "We are nobody to decide the candidature, and as of today, the national committee seems to be not willing to field any candidate from the Islands," said Col Cherian, Convenor of the newly formed Committee. "In fact in the General Body meeting held on 7th March 2014 at Hotel ACC, we had passed a resolution and asked the National Committee not to contest elections from the Islands this year and wait for next elections," he said.
Col. Cherian is also the Secretary of Rajya Sainik Board.
"We have objections about a group headed by Prakash Minj collecting funds in the name of AAP, and we had warned them not to do so, and finally we had to file a NC-FIR against the group," said Col. Cherian.
When asked if any other person is announced as the candidate for the Islands, whether the committee will support, Col Cherian said that he will support. He had issued a public notice declaring all other committees invalid.
Nelson Prasad, another politician from Congress camp who had been a PRI member for a long time also found AAP enticing and started canvassing to form a group.
"I have nothing to do whatever is happening now with AAP in the Islands," Nelson Prasad said. "The committee formed by Col. Cherian is bogus, but there are a few good people in the group, who are misled," he said.
Nelson Prasad claims that he have been given the responsibility by Delhi to organize the party here, and whoever contacts Delhi office has been asked to meet him.
He nurtures a soft corner towards Prakash Minj, as he feels that they have worked hard to establish the party here and he also vouches for Chattopadhyay, but feels that they erred by collecting funds in the name of party.
However, Col. Cherian feels that as Sanjay Meshack is related to Nelson Prasad, he might support him.
Mohammed Younus, a staunch supporter of AAP in Andamans, seen at all venues of late is a little demoralized by the developments. "If the party doesn't declare a candidate from the Islands, NOTA is the best option," he said.
Although, everyone projects to be a well wisher of the other, the fissures and heartburn are quite visible. Maybe the fifth or sixth list of candidates might feature the Islands as wished by the three or four candidates who have applied from the Islands, but the question is whether they will be able to win the hearts of the Islanders?
Unfortunately, the waves of change that AAP promises seems to be not touching the shores of the Islands as of now.