Yadav, Bhushan shown the door

Amid allegations of murder of democracy, intimidation and hooliganism, the national council of the Aam Aadmi Party removed the party’s founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from its national executive on Saturday. The council later set in motion the process to expel them from the party.

Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, who had represented Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan in negotiations with the party leadership, too were voted out of the executive. Party general secretary Pankaj Gupta confirmed that 247 council members voted for removing the four and eight against, while two gave dissent notes and 54 abstained.

But the numbers tell only half the story. High drama prevailed from the start of the meeting at a resort near Gurgaon as Mr. Yadav sat in a dharna outside the gates to protest against the “unfair exclusion” of several members “who were denied entry.” All around him, supporters of Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP’s national convener, shouted slogans to “throw out the traitors.” Arriving at the venue, Mr. Kejriwal walked past Mr. Yadav.

Sources said Mr. Kejriwal started the proceedings with an emotional speech attacking Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan for allegedly trying to defeat the party in the Delhi elections. He then left saying Gopal Rai would chair the meeting. But it was Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who took the stage and moved a resolution to remove the leaders.

The party’s Lokpal, Admiral (Retd.) L. Ramdas, said he was advised against attending the meeting to “avoid a confrontation.”

Mockery of democracy, says Yadav

Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who were removed from the national executive of the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday, said they were not allowed to speak at the national council meeting that voted them out. They said the Arvind Kejriwal camp had hired “bouncers” to beat up their supporters.

They were speaking to presspersons after coming out of the venue of the meeting in Gurgaon.

“What happened inside was a mockery of any notion of democracy. The Lokpal was not allowed inside because of what he would have witnessed,” Mr. Yadav said.

The two leaders said that soon after Mr. Kejriwal’s speech, his supporters started shouting at, and heckling, them. When one of their supporters, Ramzan Chaudhury, got up to speak, he was beaten up by the bouncers even as Mr. Kejriwal looked the other way.

“There were unrecognisable faces and non-members at the meeting and members were not allowed inside. Our supporters were thrashed. When I asked Arvind to get them to stop, he sat like a statue,” Mr. Yadav alleged at a press conference later.

“What he [Kejriwal] has displayed today is that he is willing to use his dictatorial powers to ruthlessly stifle dissent and ruthlessly stop discussion or opposition to what he wants,” Mr. Bhushan said.

The allegations were swiftly countered by AAP leader Ashutosh in a series of tweets. “YY/PB [Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan] should respect the verdict of the highest decision-making body of the party if they believe in internal democracy,” he said. “Media should not buy a cooked-up story of manhandling and presence of bouncers. YY/PB is spreading lies.”

The national council meeting continued after the four expelled leaders left the venue. A senior party functionary told The Hindu that the next piece of business discussed was the expulsion of the four from the party. He said the party had referred the matter to a disciplinary committee and those in charge of the respective State units had been asked to begin proceedings for the purpose.

The AAP crisis

  • 04 March, 2015

    Party’s founder members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav are voted out of its political affairs committee.

  • 06 March, 2015

    Senior party leader Mayank Gandhi protests ouster of Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan.

  • 08 March, 2015

    Yadav asks AAP workers to put an end to infighting.

  • 11 March, 2015

    Senior AAP leader from Mumbai Anjali Damania resigns from the party after allegations of “horse trading” surface against Mr. Kejriwal.

  • 16 March, 2016

    Senior leaders from the Kejriwal camp meet Mr. Yadav and hold discussions.

  • 26 March, 2015

    AAP ‘unity’ talks fail

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 1:33:11 AM |

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