Viren Shah 'forgets past', wants to join AAP

Dec 31, 2013, 12:23 IST | Varun Singh

The owner of the popular store Roopam had accused AAP's national executive member Mayank Gandhi of evading taxes last year; he now claims he has forgotten the past and wants a ticket for LS elections

Call it short-term memory loss or simply being opportunistic. The owner of a popular clothing store seems to have let bygones be bygones and now wants to shake hands with someone he once campaigned ferociously against.

An Aam Aadmi Party banner outside Roopam in Crawford Market

Viren Shah, the owner of Roopam, a store at Crawford Market, had been one of the many people who had joined up with Anna Hazare during his anti-corruption movement, of which Arvind Kejriwal had been a vital part. Both Shah and Mayank Gandhi, who is now the national executive member of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, had worked under the banner of India Against Corruption. Shah had even distributed pamphlets supporting the Lokpal Bill.

Viren Shah. Pic/Shadab Khan

But, last year, when Arvind Kejriwal announced the formation of the AAP, and Gandhi joined up with him, Shah levelled allegations against Gandhi. He had claimed that Gandhi had evaded taxes when he was part of the Remaking of Mumbai Federation (ROMF), an NGO that wanted to carry out cluster development in Mumbai’s C ward.

In fact, he had even held a press conference at Press Club, Mumbai, where he had proclaimed his support for Anna Hazare and raised doubts against Gandhi. Shah had gone on record with his statements that Gandhi should be interrogated for his involvement in ROMF. That matter seems to have been forgotten. He has even put up a banner featuring Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal outside his store. Yesterday, Shah expressed his wish to join the AAP, “We all want to work for the cause, and I have nothing against Gandhi in person. I hear there was an internal Lokpal that has exonerated Gandhi.”

Making his wish public, Shah said, “I desire to contest the Lok Sabha polls and will work to get maximum support for the party in the forthcoming elections. I wish for the Mumbai-South constituency, but I don’t mind any other seat as well.” Shah obviously wants to capitalise on the huge support the AAP has been able to garner and wants the revolutionary change that Delhi saw, to be brought to Mumbai as well. He has already spoken to Anjali Damania, the Maharashtra committee member of the AAP about his plans.

Damania told this newspaper, “The party has appealed to people who want to contest the forthcoming elections to fill up the forms. They will be selected after due process. Yes, Shah had called me and I have asked him to submit the required form if he desires to contest elections.” When asked about the past remarks made by Shah, Damania said, “If anyone wants to work with us and for the nation, s/he is welcome to do so.

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