‘Kejriwal wanted Yadav, Bhushan out’

In a fresh twist to the internal controversy that is rocking the Aam Aadmi party, a member of its national executive on Thursday confirmed that Arvind Kejriwal had threatened to quit as the party’s convenor if Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan remained on its Political Affairs Committee.

“On 26th Feb. night, when members of the NE [national executive] went to meet him, Arvind conveyed that he will not be able to work as convenor if these two members were part of the PAC. That was the background of the NE on 4th March,” says a note to volunteers written by Mayank Gandhi, a senior party leader from Maharashtra.

Mr. Gandhi, who abstained from voting on Wednesday in the national executive meeting, revealed what he claimed was the inside story. He said he was shocked when Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia introduced a proposal for removing Yadav and Bhushan, despite the two voluntarily offering to step down.

Responding to Mr. Gandhi's note, Mr Yadav only said “finally the truth prevails.” He had earlier said that he had no intention of quitting from the party and would continue to work, perhaps in a role that involved issues related to farmers. “I want to get involved intensively and I personally have been wanting time to travel and understand the issues of farmers,” Mr. Yadav said.

Though party sources said the national executive had promised new roles for Mr. Bhushan and Mr. Yadav, there was no clarity on what had finally been decided for them. Party sources said the involvement of the two leaders in party affairs had been minimal in recent times, but expressed concern that the party now lacked a strong intellectual presence.

Mr. Yadav, in particular, had played a leading role in the formulation of the AAP’s manifestos, both for the Delhi elections in 2013 as well as for the Lok Sabha elections. He was also in charge of coordinating between the 32 sub-committees that the party had formed to articulate its position on a number of issues, such as empowering local representative bodies; electoral, police and judicial reforms; urban slums; education; health; and ecology, as well as serious issues of internal security such as Naxalism. One of the points highlighted by Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan in their letters written to the national executive was that the party had not yet reviewed the reports submitted by these committees and that its position on various issues were being decided arbitrarily.

Senior leaders said that a lot of the party’s policy formulation could now be done by the Delhi unit, which includes former journalists Ashish Khetan and Ashutosh. Mr. Khetan is already the vice-chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission which coordinates various task groups that work on delivering on AAP’s promises.

As for the national executive, party leaders pointed out that several of its members were from outside Delhi and could not intervene effectively in what remains essentially a Delhi-centric party. Those who are from Delhi, they said, may not have the authority to intervene or challenge Mr. Kejriwal in any significant way.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 9:31:41 PM |

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