As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) witnesses a purge of rebels across the country, the local unit has also split into two.
While one professes exceeding loyalty to Delhi chief minister and party convener Arvind Kejriwal, the other is dismayed at the “despotic” manner in which senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan have effectively been shunted out.
Gurjasjit Singh, one of the frontline activists of the party since it came up in the city, openly criticised Kejriwal for his “anti-party ideology”. It was Gurjasjit who used to issue all press releases and led party campaigns and rallies.
He told HT on Monday, “I cannot work under a dictator. I have decided to opt out of the party and completely support Yogendra Yadav.”
On the other hand, Naresh Garg ‘Bobby’, a longtime party volunteer who is now at the frontline and handling the media coverage for the AAP, said, “We are all with our leader Arvind Kejriwal. In fact, we have the majority of the people with us, along with the 12 members who were inducted when the party was formed.”
But, explaining the divide, Gurjasjit commented, “We will not talk about our strength in numbers, but all educated and visionary people are with us and supporting Yadav.”
As for Gul Panag, the party’s Lok Sabha 2014 candidate from the city, she has so far refused to make a straight comment on the “internal matter”. But it is worth noting that she has been actively working in a task force of the Delhi AAP government led by Kejriwal.
MEETING VS RALLY
The factionalism and stinging comments gained significance on the eve of a meeting of Yadav and his supporters from the region in Chandigarh.
While Gurjasjit is set to attend the Yadav meeting, Bobby also announced that they would organise a protest on a host of issues in the city the same day, Tuesday. This would be led by Naveen Jaihind, national executive member of the AAP, who was widely seen a bête noire of Yadav even when the divide was not public. A confrontation, however, is unlikely as the protest march — “against VIP culture, farmer suicides and land scams” — is to be held in Sector 28, while the Yadav meeting is in a convention hall in Sector 36.