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BC NDP chief electoral officer recommends disqualifying Anjali Appadurai from leadership race

Click to play video: 'Anjali Appadurai’s BC NDP leadership application bid may be in jeopardy'
Anjali Appadurai’s BC NDP leadership application bid may be in jeopardy
WATCH: Global News has obtained an internal document recommending BC NDP leadership hopeful Anjali Appadurai be disqualified from the race. Richard Zussman has the details. – Oct 18, 2022

The person in charge of running the BC NDP leadership race is recommending Anjali Appadurai be disqualified from the contest.

If the party’s executive takes the recommendation from Elizabeth Cull it would mean David Eby is the only eligible candidate and would become B.C.’s next premier.

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The party executive committee is set to vote on the issue Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Appadurai has been under investigation for multiple breaches of the party’s leadership rules.

The Appadurai campaign has been accused of offering to pay for memberships for new members, using Dogwood BC’s list to recruit members and encouraging BC Greens to leave their party to temporarily join the BC NDP to vote for Appadurai.

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Click to play video: 'NDP leadership challenger Anjali Appadurai’s campaign is under investigation by Elections BC'
NDP leadership challenger Anjali Appadurai’s campaign is under investigation by Elections BC

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“Because no other remedy can adequately address the failings and breaches of the Appadurai Campaign in this Leadership election contest, the CEO has reached the difficult conclusion that Ms. Appadurai should be disqualified as a candidate,” reads the internal report written by Cull and obtained by Global News.

“In their opinion, the improper coordination with third parties (primarily Dogwood) played such a significant tole in the Appadurai Campaign that it is impossible to create a level playing field at this point, and impossible to restore the Leadership Election campaign to a state of integrity in which I could have confidence.”

Cull details in the report Dogwood used paid ads, paid phone backing and emails to communicate with supporters in an attempt to sign up members.

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The report states Appadurai told supporters on August 6 organizations like Dogwood would help her sign up thousands of members.

Cull considered disallowing all new members who joined after August 6, 2022 from voting but determined that would also disqualify thousands of people who signed up in good faith.

“This potential remedy does nothing to address the CEO’s serious concerns about Ms. Appadurai’s failures to take any responsibility for the violations committed in relation to her campaign, and her distressingly lackadaisical attitude to her obligations as a leadership candidates,” Cull writes.

In the report, Cull details that 17.7 per cent of the more than 2,000 new members contacted are
‘ineligible’ because they are supporters or members of other parties.

In a statement BC NDP president Aaron Sumexheltza says the document obtained by Global News is a confidential internal document and he comment on the details at this stage.

“The Chief Electoral Officer’s role is to uphold the rules and ensure a fair race. This recommendation will be heard by Provincial Executive, which makes the final decision on candidate approvals,” the statement reads.

“Our party’s Provincial Executive is a dynamic group of people who were elected by BC NDP members at our last convention. The Executive reflects the diversity of people in our province. I know they want to ensure a fair process and take this responsibility seriously.”

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Appadurai says she is ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by the recommendation.

She has said publicly she signed up between 8,000 to 14,000 members. The party has not released any figures officially.

“I wanted to take part in a healthy contest of ideas and a renewed conversation about the relationship
between the party grassroots and its decision makers,” Appadurai said.

“I believe that British Columbians deserve this conversation, especially in these extraordinary times.”

The Appadurai campaign had already released significant policy documents on climate and health care. In those policy plans she proposed free transit in urban centres and a 25 per cent raise for nurses.

The party had interviewied Appadurai as part of the vetting process and has only approved David Eby as a candidate.

Eby has only released a platform policy piece on housing.

“From the beginning of this race here’s been a careful narrative cultivated online, an absurd story about a hostile takeover by outsiders. But what my campaign has been about from day one is traditional democratic socialist values, galvanized by the urgency and passion of a new generation of NDP movement organizers,” Appadurai said.

“Let me be clear: our campaign followed the rules, and this recommendation of disqualification is the  result of a biased and unlevel playing field, repeated changes in interpretation of the rules, and ultimately — an attempt to control a situation in which an underdog candidate out organized the frontrunner, signing up many more members in just 25 days.”

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