The infighting within the Aam Admi Party could lead to a split in its core leadership after party leaders accused Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on Monday of attempting to remove Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as its convener. The party’s national executive meeting will discuss the issue on Wednesday, which may lead to the ouster of the two founder members.
“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,” senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh told presspersons here on Monday. Without naming Mr. Bhushan or Mr. Yadav, he referred to statements and letters by senior leaders that were making the party “a joke.”
The AAP has been struck by repeated rumours of rifts over the past few days as letters by senior leaders have found their way into the media. First, a letter written by the party ombudsman, Admiral (Retd) L. Ramdas, lamented the way in which the party had been split into two camps. Two notes written by Mr. Bhushan and Mr. Yadav surfaced later, seeking inner party democracy and raising concerns about a “personality cult” being built around Mr. Kejriwal. A fourth letter by the AAP’s Delhi secretary, Dilip Pandey, came as a counter to those notes, accusing Mr. Yadav of a conspiracy to take over as party convener.
While some in the AAP view the notes by Mr. Bhushan and Mr. Yadav as an affront to Mr. Kejriwal, others say it is a healthy exercise to promote discussion within the party about its future course.
It is said the rift between the AAP’s three most prominent leaders is the result of the party moving away from an “academic Leftist idealism”, which Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan embodied, toward a more pragmatic approach toward politics. These differences have been played out within the party recently with public disagreements over issues such as selection of candidate and the question of whether to expand its base or focus energy on Delhi.
“The decisive churning in the AAP. It’s a clash of ideas between ultra left who demand referendum in Kashmir and pragmatic politics of welfarism,” senior party leader Ashutosh tweeted on Monday.
Senior leaders like Anand Kumar pointed out that the issue was not the post of convener. “No one, including Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, want him to discontinue. The only issue is to separate non-issues from issues through dialogue and dignity,” he tweeted.
For his part, Mr. Yadav on Monday said all stories about a crisis within the party were imaginary and it was time to work after the big victory in the elections and not indulge in “small acts.”