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BC NDP disqualifies Anjali Appadurai from leadership race

Appadurai alleges her candidacy faced opposition from the party establishment due to its closeness with the fossil fuel industry

Canadian Politics

Photo courtesy Anjali Appadurai/Twitter

The BC NDP executive committee has voted to disqualify Anjali Appadurai from the race to elect its new leader.

This means that David Eby—the only remaining candidate—will replace John Horgan as leader of the NDP and premier of the province. Eby is the former BC attorney general and housing minister.

The report by party Chief Electoral Officer Elizabeth Cull recommending Appadurai be turfed from the race was leaked publicly prior to the executive committee’s vote on Wednesday night, October 19.

According to the report, concerns were raised about Appadurai’s campaign over the high number of new memberships to the party she was able to secure. Cull asserted that this was accomplished through inappropriate third party support.

Specifically, the report alleges that Appadurai received support from Dogwood BC. Dogwood BC is a grassroots political organizing non-profit that has openly declared their support for her.

“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,” the report reads.

Membership surge set off alarm bells

For its part, Dogwood states that their support of Appadurai did not violate any election rules.

“Cull falsely accuses Dogwood staff of soliciting ‘fraudulent’ memberships in the party, on the basis that members may have supported other parties in the past. That is not fraud: these are real people with names and addresses who put their hope in the BC NDP as a vehicle to address the climate emergency,” reads a statement from Dogwood.

In a reply to the leaked report, Appadurai stated:

I wish I could start by sharing my shock at being called here to address an attempt to disqualify my candidacy, but unfortunately, I am unsurprised by this turn of events … This narrative of disqualification has been carefully cultivated online and in leaks to journalists for weeks, keeping my campaign in a state of crisis and distraction. That a recommendation of disqualification is finally happening is distressing and destructive to both my campaign and to our party’s future credibility with the voters of this province.


On Thursday, October 20 Appadurai and her supporters gathered at the BC legislature. Appadurai maintained that she and her party were involved in no foul-play.

“We used good, old-fashioned organization and not any kind of collusion or trickery to sign up the number of members that we did,” she told her supporters.

Appadurai a threat to fossil fuel interests

Appadurai alleges in her reply that, among other things, her candidacy has faced opposition from the party establishment due to their closeness with the fossil fuel industry and her commitment to fighting the climate crisis.

The party’s executive voted against reviewing Appadurai’s appeal prior to making their decision to disqualify her from the race.

In his analysis of Appadurai’s candidacy, BC journalist Charlie Smith explained her opposition to fossil fuels.

“If Appadurai defeats her only opponent, former attorney general David Eby, BC would become a core member of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. This is a group of governments and stakeholders working toward phasing out oil and gas production,” Smith writes. “Furthermore, Appadurai has signed the NDP standing committee on environment and economy’s climate justice pledge. It commits to immediately stopping all new oil and gas production, exploration, and infrastructure. In addition, this pledge calls for rapidly phasing out all fossil-fuel production, export, and use by 2033.”

Smith also explains how the BC government has forecasted $911 million in revenue from the oil and gas industry this year.

Condemnation of party’s decision

Several elected NDP members from the federal level and from other provinces condemned the BC leadership’s decision to disqualify Appadurai from the race.

What happens next?

On Thursday October 20, Eby released a statement, noting that while many NDP members may be disappointed in Appadurai’s disqualification, the “conversation within our party on the issues raised by Anjali during this campaign must continue.”

He continued: “I am committed to doing my best to earn the support of and listen to the feedback of all members—because having a strong, united NDP matters.”

Nick Seebruch has been the editor of rabble.ca since April 2022.

This article originally appeared on rabble.ca.

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