‘In the first NC meeting after AAP’s creation, Arvind had said: “This party is not the property of 300 founding members but of the lakhs and crores of people in this country.” This refreshing stance shifted over time, got corrupted by power . . . till, one day, Arvind told me: I do not want intellectuals in the party, just people who say “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.’
Authored by a former member of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) National Executive, AAP & Down is an in-depth account of the emergence and sudden unspooling of one of India’s most closely watched parties.
The story of AAP is one of troughs and crests. After capturing the imagination of over a billion Indians, and winning a landslide victory in the 2015 Delhi elections, a seemingly indestructible party began to dangerously teeter. What just happened? How did a party—born of the idealistic India Against Corruption (IAC) movement—get ravaged by in-fighting and accusations of wrongdoing? What provoked the abrupt ouster of two party veterans, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan? What accounted for the wave of ignoble defeats across not just Punjab and Goa but also AAP’s own home, Delhi?
Here is a book that reveals all—from the clashes and intrigues that beset the IAC movement to the goings-on during the closed-door meetings of AAP. But beyond chronicling events, thus far undisclosed, AAP & Down analyzes the dispositions of the leaders who had once promised a better India—from a volatile Anna Hazare to an autocratic Arvind Kejriwal—to highlight how the party’s undoing was linked to the flaws of its leading men.
Even while recounting the true story of a party, here is a book that presents the story of India—of how a country, plagued by scams and scandals, dared to unite under IAC and overthrow the corrupt. In this, there is a lesson for AAP—the book emphatically reminds the party that its best chance of revival lies in reinvesting faith in this nation’s citizens.
Mayank Gandhi is a social activist from India. He was previously a member of the core committee in the India Against Corruption movement, and a national executive member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Around 2011, Gandhi became a part of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement and a member of its 24-person "core committee", which was officially the full extent of the movement in a formal organisational sense. Gandhi also served as a member of the national executive of the AAP until 2015, besides acting as the party's head in Maharashtra. His unit was disbanded because of differences with the party chief Arvind Kejriwal. In 2015, he resigned from the party's national executive.
Twenty-three-year-old Shrey Shah has been a part of his mentor Mayank Gandhi's journey right from the IAC days. He is also a budding lawyer who aspires to be an IAS officer in order to serve the nation.