Two days after AAP's face in Maharashtra, Mayank Gandhi resigned from the National Executive, senior leaders here have appealed to the party high command to introspect on the "high-handed" style of working of the "Dilli gang" which is "ruining" the party and take immediate "course correction" to restore AAP's lost glory.
AAP's Maharashtra unit was disbanded last month as part of party's process to restructure and strengthen the unit, a move which had triggered sharp reaction from Gandhi who had said that AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was playing "gutter politics".
Senior leader in Maharashtra Ravi Srivastava told PTI, "When an activist like Mayank Gandhi loses interest from AAP politics, this is really disheartening and party should take immediate course correction. Now Delhi MLAs have been entrusted to look after daily affairs of state, despite the fact that they are unaware of local issues of Maharashtra."
The only two members in the National Executive from Maharashtra - Mayank Gandhi and Subhash Ware - have resigned, alleging party's "high handedness".
Another leader Sundar Balakrishnan, who lost 2014 Lok Sabha election from Mumbai South Central, said, "Gandhi was the unanimous and super team leader who was doing an excellent job in the state. Both (Gandhi and Ware) transformed the party by executing Mission Vistar, Mission Buniyad, setting up anti-corruption helpline, organising Shetkari yatras, but unfortunately both had to resign from the post."
Balakrishnan alleged that AAP has no longer been a "party with difference" and has been bugged by malpractices that have been prevalent in other parties.
"Our leader supported Nitish Kumar in Bihar election, but indirectly he also supported Lalu Prasad Yadav. I think Arvind Kejriwal should have made a categorical statement that he is supporting Nitish not Lalu," he said.
"We appeal to the high command in Delhi to restore its lost glory," he added.
Another leader, who had held several rallies with Kejriwal in Mumbai, on condition of anonymity, said, "Kejriwal's 'use and throw' policy has been his key tool in politics and he followed it here with Mayank Gandhi too."
"Gandhi was the only instrumental figure who connected Anna Hazare with Arvind Kejriwal in Mumbai and launched massive campaigns in the state. But when Kejriwal became Chief Minister (of New Delhi), he stopped responding to Gandhi's calls and messages.
"Ever since AAP has come into existence in Maharashtra, it has been controlled by the 'Dilli gang' who never bothered to see our unit flourishing. Rather they enjoyed ruining the unit," he alleged.
AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon, however, downplayed Gandhi's resignation and said, "As per our party's constitution, all the posts were valid upto November 23 and when our next national council meeting will take place, new members for different wings will be elected. Hence, in these circumstances Mayank Gandhi's resignation does not seem significant."