By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji, Feb 9 (IANS) The AAP may just have to switch from a broom, its party symbol, to a whip, if it wants to get its already demoralized house in order in Goa.
Disillusionment, conmen and disreputable folks as members, no collective will to fight the incumbent government and visible lethargy are threatening to turn the Aam Aadmi Party in Goa all that the outfit has promised not to be, in its more celebrated and successful Delhi model.
Rajashree Nagarsekar, convenor of the AAP in Goa, is candid enough to admit that the party needed to take a reality check.
“Frankly we are facing problems. People of not very good (social) standing have begun joining us. Some of our members are in fact life members of other political parties. These issues have to be tackled, much before the Lok Sabha polls,” Nagarsekar said.
Just how lacklustre the AAP is in Goa can be gauged by the impact made during the nationwide membership drive which Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Jan 10.
While the nationwide target set by the AAP was 1 crore, Goa’s contribution was a measly 4,000.
The number, according to an AAP official, only accounted for ordinary members who registered during local recruitment drives and doesn’t include those who could have signed up online.
Poor numbers apart, party sources said another basic glitch the AAP has been unable to resolve until Friday was the election of a formal state level committee.
“The committee was formed yesterday. Since last year we only had an ad hoc committee in place,” Nagarsekar said, adding that without a proper organizational structure, it was virtually impossible to set and agenda and get going.
More than a month since the political rekindling after the sensational December victory in Delhi, what the AAP has in store for Goa is anybody’s guess.
Last year, an AAP member did say that casinos, real estate and mining would be a key part of the AAP campaign portfolio. But the AAP’s inaction on all these fronts has stumped many, including those within.
“We were expecting some kind of guidance from the winning team in Delhi. But it looks like they are so busy in Delhi that they hardly have any time for Goa,” an AAP active member told IANS.
While quantity is a key shortcoming for AAP Goa, sourcing quality members is also a problem, admits Nagarsekar.
At first glance, AAP Goa looks like a consortium of folks who have been a part of Goa’s active civil society, including some spoken of in whispers of compromising popular struggles and even indulging in blackmail.
According to Nagarsekar, weeding out such members has been difficult as they have been recommended by some high-profile members.
Speaking of star recruitment, this is one block which the new party appears to have blasted off from in quick time.
Recruiting well known activist-doctor Oscar Rebello and singer Remo Fernandes not only got the AAP goodwill but mileage too. But in Nagarsekar’s own words, the party has not been able to cash in on it.
“A lot of time is lost. There has been confusion going on for sometime. We are not getting enough people to commit time to doing the real ground work for the party,” she said.
The AAP is in power in Delhi and has stirred interest in places like Haryana, Amethi and Mumbai.
But if urban Goa is the measure of the new political party’s preparedness for the bigger Lok Sabha picture, then Team Kejriwal’s broom may bristle, only to deceive.