Kumar Vishwas keeps AAP on edge, ‘rift’ in national executive over leader’s future
Kumar, who was made Rajasthan in-charge of the party last month, was present in the meeting attended by almost all members of the national executive.delhi Updated: Jul 11, 2017 17:29 IST
Confusion prevails in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over the future of senior leader Kumar Vishwas.
While everything seems hunky dory from outside, party sources said the party’s national executive meeting on Sunday witnessed a ‘heated atmosphere’, at least two people present there told Hindustan Times.
The Kapil Mishra episode, and related controversies, came up for discussion during the meeting that went on for hours. Progress on the work assigned to the poet-turned-politician by the leadership was also discussed.
Kumar, who was made Rajasthan in-charge of the party last month, was present in the meeting attended by almost all members of the national executive.
Sources said water minister Rajendar Pal Gautam, who recently replaced Mishra in the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet, brought up a resolution seeking a discussion on ‘loyalty’ of party leaders in the changed scenario.
The resolution, the sources said, did not name any specific individual.
“It will be wrong if people think that the party leadership is plotting the exit of Kumar. Heated and emotive exchange of words is nothing new in AAP leaders’ meetings. But yes, discussion did happen about the progress in the organisation building in Rajasthan, the responsibility of which was given to Kumar by the PAC. Nothing much has moved on that front. He assured he will soon start taking meetings,” a senior AAP leader said.
Over a month back, Kumar was made in-charge of Rajasthan by the political affairs committee (PAC), the highest decision-taking body, after he threatened to quit the party over attacks on him by a “coterie” surrounding Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The party had suspended legislator and member of the PAC, Amanatullah Khan, for three months to pacify Vishwas after the Okhla legislator termed his as a ‘BJP agent’.
While the party leadership was able to prevail upon the crisis then, speculation about the Vishwas’ future has been rife in the party as a section of legislators had sided with him, demanding his elevation as the national convener replacing Arvind Kejriwal.
The rift has been wide open but a section within the party feels that Vishwas, who got the support of sacked minister Kapil Mishra during the churning after the party’s loss in the municipal elections, has lot to offer to the party, owing to his ‘star power’ and ‘popularity’ in the Hindi belt.
“He has a following and is good in connecting with volunteers. While there were whispers of him being elevated as the national convener, the fact remains that his organizational capacity is still to be tested as he has largely been a star campaigner. The assignment in Rajasthan is an opportunity for him to show his organizational skills,” a senior party leader said.
Rajasthan is one state the party is eyeing seriously for expansion. Assembly elections are scheduled late in 2018.
Sources said, Vishwas is likely to convene a meeting of the Rajsthan unit within the next few days.