Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has so far been conspicuous by his silence on the ugly faction feud within his party.
AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav at a news conference in New Delhi on Friday (Top); and AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashish Khetan holding a counter news conference slamming Yadav and others.
Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has so far been conspicuous by his silence on the ugly faction feud within his party. However, on Friday, this silence was broken unexpectedly, and unwittingly, through yet another sting on Kejriwal. A recording of a phone call on March 22 between him and Umesh Kumar Singh, his campaign manager in Varanasi, emerged. A furious Kejriwal is heard hurling abuses at Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, the two leaders he is waging war on, as well as Professor Anand Kumar, who had been acting as their interlocutor. The AAP national council meets on Saturday. Why did Singh call Kejriwal?Singh apparently called Kejriwal for reconciliation. Singh is heard telling Kejriwal that the team of Kumar, Bhushan and Yadav is very good and will only help him. He tells Kejriwal that he (Kejriwal) has the capacity to go much further and the three don’t want to remove him but only support him. He pleads with Kejriwal to talk to them and sort the matter out. What was Kejriwal’s reply?Initially, he replied calmly, saying he doesn’t want to get embroiled in fights and that Singh can work along with Bhushan and Yadav, if he likes them so much. Then, Kejriwal says he will form his own party with his 67 MLAs, and that Bhushan and Yadav can run AAP if that team is so good. Why did Kejriwal abuse others?During the course of the conversation, Kejriwal loses his temper and spews expletives at Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha (also a negotiator for Bhushan and Yadav). He accuses Bhushan and Yadav of deliberately sabotaging the Delhi Assembly elections. In any other party, they would have been kicked out by now, says Kejriwal. Kejriwal accuses them of lying during negotiations and yells at Singh not to talk about things he doesn’t know. What are Bhushan, Yadav saying?In a press conference on Friday, Bhushan and Yadav questioned Kejriwal’s silence and called it “unfortunate” that he hadn’t spoken to them personally.They said that Kejriwal and his loyalists were lying about them, creating a bogey of Yadav wanting to be national convenor, a charge Yadav categorically denied. Did the two really quit party panel?Bhushan and Yadav, flanked by professors Kumar and Jha, asserted that they had never handed in their resignation from the national executive and only conditionally offered to do so, if their terms were accepted. Kejriwal’s side only pressed for their resignation throughout the week-long negotiations, they said. What are their demands?Their demands – swaraj in the party, autonomy for state units, placing serious charges against the party before the lokpal, giving a voice and some decision-making rights to volunteers and bringing the party under RTI – have not been accepted so far, they said.Has anything been referred to lokpal?Kejriwal’s side has refused to refer any matter to the lokpal that could damage the party’s reputation, like the horse-trading charges against Kejriwal, made public through a previous sting. A leader from the Kejriwal camp recently admitted this to dna, saying that the party investigating its own funding would look like an admission of guilt and they would be “eaten alive” by rival parties. What’s the latest stand of Bhushan, Yadav?Bhushan and Yadav have written yet another letter to national secretary Pankaj Gupta, asking him to ensure Saturday’s national council meeting proceeds smoothly, the lokpal is involved and proceedings are recorded on camera to settle any dispute and people are allowed to vote on matters through secret ballot. What if a vote takes place?With the new demands to the national secretary ahead of the national council meeting, Bhushan and Yadav have posited themselves as the defenders of the party’s ethics and morals and the champions of every party worker’s rights. If the NC meet decides to go for a vote to decide whether Bhushan and Yadav should stay on in the NE, this might win them a few more numbers.
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