AAP decides to go national as warring groups show signs of truce

  • Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 09:21 IST

The Aam Aadmi Party has said it is going national and will expand its base, a key demand of rebel leader Yogendra Yadav that split the party and pitted him and senior colleague Prashant Bhushan against the Arvind Kejriwal camp.

Signs of reconciliation between the warring factions emerged Tuesday as the party's political affairs committee met at the home of CM Kejriwal, who returned to the city Monday night.

"After our spectacular victory in Delhi and seeing the love of the people, we have decided to expand at the national level," senior leader Sanjay Singh said.

The AAP is also expected to take a decision on contesting elections outside Delhi, which Yadav and party volunteers have been demanding. The party will enrol "active volunteers" and form a committee to decide their role in states.

Tuesday's decisions seem to be in contrast to what Kejriwal had said barely a week ago. "I fight a lot in my party when people say 'we have won Delhi so we can win elsewhere too'. I am not Napoleon who has entered (the arena) to win. I want to change the system," he said in Bengaluru while undergoing naturotherapy.

He reportedly told a gathering on March 8 that he wanted to provide a good government in Delhi, and if Delhi would change so would the country.

A month after sweeping to power in Delhi, AAP's senior leaders have fought a very public and ugly war.

Leaked letters, vitriolic tweets and expulsion of Yadav and Bhushan from the PAC for allegedly working against the party in Delhi elections and challenging Kejriwal's leadership has shaken up the AAP.

Kejriwal, also the national convener of the two-year-old party, expressed unhappiness over personal battles being fought in the media, sources said.

PAC leaders went into a huddle at Kejriwal's house in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, at 8pm, hours after four senior party leaders reached out to Yadav late Monday.

Kejriwal had asked Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Singh and Ashish Khetan to reach out to Yadav and Bhushan, sources said. Their meeting with Yadav started a little before midnight and went on till 2.30am. Both sides said the meeting was positive and they would talk again.

Talking to media, Singh said the crisis in the party would end soon and they would be getting in touch with Bhushan.

Other than Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Delhi minister Gopal Rai, Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh attended the PAC meeting to which Ashish Khetan and Dilip Pandey were special invitees.

Kejriwal took oath as Delhi's common man chief minister on February 14, promising statehood, an end to corruption and VIP culture, and the security of people of all faiths in the next five years that he would devote solely to the city.

A day to the year he ended his first stint as CM after a chaotic 49-day reign, the AAP chief presented a slightly older, much wiser persona as he profusely thanked Delhiites for giving him a second chance and assured them that this time, he was here to stay. "I have decided that for the next five years, we (AAP) will focus only on Delhi. I will serve Delhi with all my heart," he said.

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