Watch Nidhi Razdan: The issue with AAP in India Video Credit: Gulf News

They say a week is a long time in politics and for the Aam Aadmi party or the AAP in India it has been a week of high drama as it lurches from one crisis to the next.

There is no doubt that the AAP has been at the receiving end of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign to obliterate the party whether by using agencies like the ED or other means. But many of the problems with AAP are also self inflicted. This is now a moment of reckoning for the party. Will the AAP emerge stronger or will it disintegrate?

Let us look at the events of the last week or so. The AAP got a shot in the arm with the Supreme Court releasing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on interim bail, which allows him to campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. But within days, the focus shifted completely, as the party’s Rajya Sabha MP, Swati Maliwal, accused Kejriwal’s close aide, Bibhav Kumar, of assaulting her.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Murky allegations and counter allegations

Kumar has since been arrested and the AAP now claims that Maliwal is part of a larger BJP conspiracy against the party. But hang on a minute. Didn’t the senior leadership of AAP initially say Maliwal’s story was true?

Senior leader and AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the press that Maliwal had come to Kejriwal’s house and was waiting to see him. He went on to say that Kumar then misbehaved with her, while strongly condemning what happened and even said Kejriwal wanted an investigation right away. So what explains the dramatic U-turn by the AAP only days later?

Till now, they have not convincingly answered this question. The murky allegations and counter allegations playing out through the media reflects poorly on the AAP. It also reflects badly on the BJP which was quick to seize on Maliwal but kept quiet on the women wrestlers who had accused a BJP MP of sexually harassing them.

The AAP is also facing other storms. The ED has opened a new front accusing the AAP of receiving over 7 crore rupees in foreign funds in violation of the law. A charge the AAP denies.

Read more by Nidhi Razdan

Holier than thou image

Also, for the first time in India’s history, a political party has been named as an accused in a money laundering investigation after the ED filed a charge sheet in the Delhi liquor policy case and named AAP. Meanwhile, Kejriwal will go back to jail on June 2, while another senior leader Manish Sisodia continues to be behind bars.

Another AAP MP who has been mysteriously absent has been Raghav Chadha who has suddenly reappeared after apparently being in the UK since March for an eye surgery. There is intense speculation about whether Chadha will quit politics altogether. Other AAP Rajya Sabha MPs have simply gone silent even on Kejriwal’s arrest.

Part of the problem is Kejriwal’s style of leadership. The AAP revolves around him and his critics say he runs the party like a personal fiefdom. Many questions were raised about the AAP’s choices for the Rajya Sabha but few dared to speak publicly.

Most of those choices are simply not siding with Kejriwal today. Whatever the truth of the liquor policy case, there has been some dent in the holier than thou image created by Kejriwal as he finds himself embroiled in a corruption case.

Yes, the BJP is gunning for them, as they are for most other opposition parties. But like the Maliwal episode shows, AAP often undermines itself and it needs more authenticity in order to grow. Otherwise it may just disintegrate.