Fights and 'battles for supremacy' in Aam Aadmi Party between dissident leaders Yogendra Yadav-Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal began even before the party made its electoral debut in 2013, an editorial in AAP's mouthpiece has revealed.
This adds a new twist to the ongoing controversy surrounding the party as public perception is that cracks surfaced after the 2014 Lok Sabha poll disaster.
The two factions have been engaged in an often-ugly and public spat ever since the sweeping mandate in February, with Yadav and Bhushan accusing Kejriwal of running the party like a dictator and gagging democracy. The dissident leaders have been removed from the party’s top decision-making bodies and in turn, they have vowed to continue their “struggle for swaraj” without leaving the organisation.
The editorial, in Aap Ki Kranti, gives specific examples, tracing the first big fight between the Bhushan-Yadav duo and Kejriwal to October 14, 2013, 'which left Kejriwal disturbed for 15 days', only days before AAP won 28 seats and went on to form government in Delhi for the first time.
"The controversy between Prashant and Yogendra and AAP has been portrayed in the media as two factions of the party when that is not really the case. Everything is being done in a well-organised and pre-decided manner. The people that media is calling 'important' are no doubt, big, but their role in party's internal hierarchy is 'inconsequential'. These leaders used to represent the party in the media but their ambitions were apparent in the early days of the party and that kept them on the margins of AAP. In order to establish their supremacy, these leaders used to create problems in the name of democracy and swaraj, thereby acting as opposition leaders within the party itself."
The article adds, "I remember the controversy of 14 October, 2013 when we were preparing for the last assembly elections in Delhi. Arvind was quite busy even in those days and not keeping well. Despite this, he was hounded for taking a simple decision. Arvind was disturbed for 15 days and since then, the ambitious designs of these leaders started become clear from time-to-time."
The piece goes on to justify the ‘abuses’ that Kejriwal recently used for them.
"What is being termed as Arvind's use of abusive language and his arrogance is actually his insistence on making India 'corruption-free'. The truth is that Arvind is not ready to tolerate any obstacle in order to achieve this 'goal' and it is this determination that makes him 'Arvind'."