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AAP imbroglio: Rules for the attempted reconciliation were not fully followed

By Kamal Mitra Chenoy
On April 14, feared split in AAP became a matter of time. This is a tragedy. It is true that the new alliance (largely of old AAP members) will not develop into a new party for some time. But the discourse in the "official" and "dissenting group" worried all AAP supporters. Yes, there were differences. But couldn't these have been settled by AAP activists who had worked together for years. Unfortunately, the rules for the attempted reconciliation were not fully followed. For instance, even before the National Council meeting on March 28, sizeable sections of the media were saying that AAP was "leaking like a sinking ship."
Some colleagues were clearly unaware that media leaks are double sided. But this trial worsened the atmosphere, and sabotaged the attempts at compromise. It did seem that a coming together was possible, but the necessary trust, what Prashant Bhushan termed "the trust deficit" was a problem. But if both sides were suspicious, the flexibility to arrive at a principled agreement was not possible. One wishes they had brought in more acceptable mediators, but that did not happen. No one has won. Muck was thrown against both sides. AAP is an entrenched political party. Despite the charges made against it, it is likely to consolidate its policies. The "samvad" has yet to become a party, or attract a fraction of the support the parent body has and is likely to increase. They want to focus on clean, principled politics in contrast to the alleged compromises made by AAP to get into, and stay in power. The two formations combined are not likely to be bigger than the AAP and new formation taken together.
Was it worth it? That time will tell. But during the end game, it became clear that the flexibility of some negotiators was not enough. Hopefully in time both sides might combine. But the history of Indian politics indicates otherwise.

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