NEW DELHI: The power tussle within AAP is headed for a showdown on Wednesday at a meeting of National Executive with AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s confidantes sharpening their knives against the troika of Shanti-Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav accusing them of hatching a conspiracy against the party chief.
Kejriwal loyalists have called the meeting on March 4 that could end in edging out both Prashant Bhushan and Yadav from the political affairs committee (PAC). Sources said that with overwhelming majority on their side, Kejriwal loyalists could easily vote out Yadav and Bhushan from the PAC.
Sensing the coming together of forces against them, Yadav struck a somewhat conciliatory pose on Monday evening. In a TV interview, he stressed that Kejriwal was easily the tallest leader in AAP and there was no question of even thinking of removing him from the post of National Convenor, a post that’s equivalent to that of the party chief in AAP. Meanwhile, Prashant Bhushan has sought a postponement of Wednesday’s meeting as he would be in Himachal Pradesh — a request that’s unlikely to be accepted.
Earlier in the day, four AAP leaders targeted the Bhushans and Yadav. In an oblique reference Sanjay Singh said, “Someone from within the party, certain senior leaders are trying to remove Arvind Kejriwal from the post of National Convener, by targeting him and maligning the party.” He also took exception of party patron Shanti Bhushan’s recent interview in which he said that Kejriwal should quit the post of national convener and that there was no one more “capable” than Yogendra Yadav for the job.
Another leader Ashutosh described the rift as a “churning” within the party. “It’s clash of ideas between ultra left who demand referendum in Kashmir and pragmatic politics of welfarism,” he tweeted on Monday morning, adding: “This will make way for future politics of AAP. This is my personal view.”
Earlier Delhi leaders including Durgesh Pathak and Dilip K Pandey accused the trio of conspiracy to unseat AAP. Durgesh Pathak said that it was shocking that Yadav and Prashant Bhushan wanted AAP to lose Delhi polls while Pandey accused them of conspiring it unseat Kejriwal as national convener. (see excerpts from letters of Pandey and Yadav and Bhushan on page …)
Singh said that when at its national executive meeting held last week, Kejriwal had tendered his resignation, it was opposed by members who had insisted that he should continue as the AAP national convener. “It was decided at the meet last week that Kejriwal will continue as the party chief and there is no question of removing him from the post. If this is the case, then how will the party work? Will the volunteers like it? Those wanting to remove Kejriwal as party chief should also take the emotions of party workers into consideration,” Singh said.
Yadav, however, claimed that he and Prashant Bhushan were the first ones to raise their hands to reject Kejriwal’s offer of resignation at this meeting. As against this sign of softening, there was Bhushan’s letter of February 26 in which he said AAP was becoming “one person-centric” which was making it look like other parties and was antithetical to the concept of ‘swaraj’ espoused by AAP.
Along with Yadav, he also gave a joint letter to the national executive and demanded activation of an ethics and grievance committee. Internal Lokpal Admiral (retired) L Ramdas too had pointed to opposing camps working at cross-purposes in his note.
“One person-centric campaign, which was run during Delhi elections, is making our party look more and more like other conventional parties that are also one-person centric. The only difference being that we still claim that we are wedded to the principles of ‘swaraj’ while they don’t,” Bhushan had said in the letter.
Amid the ongoing rumbling within the AAP, senior party leader Yogendra Yadav in a facebook post said all the stories on the crisis in the party are “imaginary” and it was time to work after the big victory in the polls and not indulge in “petty acts.”
“New stories are being planted and allegations are being leveled against (us) and conspiracies are being hatched…I am saddened, but also find it funny. I find it funny because these are baseless. Those scripting stories have a lot of time but I feel sad with the intention. The government of Delhi has given us our biggest victory. The time is to work after the big victory. The country has a lot of expectations from us. I can expect that from our petty acts, we should not let this ray of hope become small,” Yadav said in a Facebook post
Sources said that a final decision would be taken on Wednesday at the NE meeting. Sources also added that Prashant Bhushan had sought a delay in the NE meeting since he was away to Himachal. However it is unlikely that the meeting would be shifted
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