Former BC NDP leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai called the decision to eject her from the leadership race a “pre-determined conclusion” in a press conference on Thursday.
Speaking outside the provincial legislature in Victoria, Appadurai said she attracted new members to join the party through grassroots organizing, and denied allegations of improper campaign management.
“I maintain that, from day one, our campaign strove to do things with integrity,” she said. “We used good old-fashioned organizing and not any kind of collusion or trickery to sign up the number of members that we did.”
Appadurai announced her intention to run for leadership of the BC NDP on August 15, just a few weeks before the September 4 deadline for new members joining who wished to vote in the leadership race.
The investigation into her campaign primarily centred on Dogwood, an environmental organization, and whether it made in-kind political contributions through advocating for people to sign up to the NDP to vote in the leadership election.
Elizabeth Cull, the party’s chief electoral officer, released a report late Tuesday recommending that Appadurai be disqualified. The document, leaked publicly, stated, “no other remedy can adequately address the failing and breaches of the Appadurai Campaign.”
While the Appadurai campaign wrote a rebuttal, a lengthy closed-door executive council meeting on Wednesday voted not to consider her points and ultimately to disqualify Appadurai.
Dogwood said it had followed the rules and repeatedly spoke to Elections BC to clarify what was and was not allowed. Elections BC closed the investigation into Dogwood after Appadurai was disqualified, without reaching a conclusion.
“We were held retroactively responsible for the actions of other organizations, and that’s something that I believe is unfair,” Appadurai said at the press conference.
However, she says she will remain a member of the provincial NDP and encourages others to do the same.
“I want us to stay. I want us to find inside—but more importantly, I want us to fight outside,” she said, adding new members have a chance to impact the direction of the party, even if they are disappointed.
“I don’t think that’s a reason to rip up our memberships,” she said. “I won’t be ripping up my membership.”
Appadurai previously ran as the NDP candidate for Vancouver Granville in the 2021 federal election, losing to Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed by 431 votes.
Appadurai’s disqualification means that David Eby, former provincial attorney general and housing minister, will replace John Horgan as leader of the NDP and premier.