Delhi CM Kejriwal aide’s ‘misbehaviour’ with Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal lands AAP in trouble; BJP makes the most of it : The Tribune India

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Delhi CM Kejriwal aide’s ‘misbehaviour’ with Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal lands AAP in trouble; BJP makes the most of it

Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh meets Maliwal at her residence in Delhi

Delhi CM Kejriwal aide’s ‘misbehaviour’ with Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal lands AAP in trouble; BJP makes the most of it

AAP's Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal. Tribune file



Vibha Sharma 

Chandigarh, May 15

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seems to be in major political trouble over the alleged “misbehaviour” incident involving its Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar.

For AAP, the controversy couldn’t have come at a worst time as it happened right in the middle of the ongoing Lok Sabha election, and at a time when two states—Punjab and Delhi—where AAP is a major player are yet to vote.

While no formal complaints have been filed so far, the very fact that senior leader Sanjay Singh was deployed by AAP leadership (read Kejriwal) to placate Maliwal says a lot about the gravity of the situation. In politics, perceptions matter, say observers. 

What Sanjay Singh said 

Singh, who is said to have met Maliwal at her residence today, on Tuesday said Kumar “misbehaved” with Maliwal and would face “strict action”. “A very condemnable incident took place yesterday morning. Swati Maliwal had gone to Arvind Kejriwal’s residence to meet him. She was waiting in the drawing room when Bibhav Kumar misbehaved and disrespected her. She dialled 112 and informed the police,” Singh said, adding that Kejriwal has “taken cognisance” of the matter and has “directed strict action”.

“Swati Maliwal has worked for the country and society, and she is among the oldest and most senior leaders of AAP. We are with her. The party does not support such people (Bibhav Kumar),” he was quoted as saying.

Wheels within wheels 

Known to speak her mind, Maliwal had been in news for various reasons, including her candid talk regarding “abuse” by her father and “bad marriage” with Naveen Jaihind, the man who spoke in her favour after the incident involving Bibhav, warning that there’s “danger to her life”.   

Maliwal, who was picked by the Delhi CM Kejriwal to represent the party in the Rajya Sabha, has been associated with Kejriwal before AAP came into being. She joined Kejriwal’s NGO Parivartan after graduating from college and was later appointed the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, which is why her “absence” in Delhi when the Delhi CM was arrested in March surprised many. 

Whatever Singh and other AAP leaders may claim but the incident has proved that all has not been well between Maliwal and her party for a while now.  

CM Kejriwal 'not happy' with Maliwal

Delhi’s power corridors are buzzing with speculations, one of which is that Kejriwal was “not happy” with Maliwal’s long absence before and after his arrest in the excise policy case in March.

Though, according to Maliwal, she was in the US for her sister’s treatment, the fact is that even after she returned to India, she was not seen much on the ground.

AAP leaders have rubbished the buzz that Maliwal was being pressured to give up her Rajya Sabha membership in favour of Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also happened to be Kejriwal’s lawyer in the excise policy case. However, BJP leaders claim this to be the “key reason”. 

“If not her, someone from Punjab will have to give up his Rajya Sabha membership to accommodate Singhvi”, they claim.

BJP is making the most of the situation

In the meantime, BJP (Congress and Kejriwal’ rival in Delhi) is making the most of the situation. Irrespective of what transpired, as they say, in politics perceptions matter. Therefore, even if Maliwal is convinced to come out in AAP’s support, observers believe some damage, especially where women voters are concerned, may have already been done.

Saffron party leaders, who are questioning the “silence” of AAP’s INDIA bloc partners over the issue, are making it about the dignity and safety of women and have called for the arrest of not only Bibhav Kumar but also the Delhi CM. BJP’s women cadres also held protests outside Kejriwal’s residence in Delhi over the issue today.

#Aam Aadmi Party AAP #Arvind Kejriwal #BJP #Rajya Sabha


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