Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder member Madhu Bhaduri has accused the rookie party of shielding controversial law minister Somnath Bharti in the south Delhi raid episode.
Bhaduri's allegations, which come close on the heels of party legislator Vinod Kumar Binny being expelled for criticising the top leadership, once again bring to fore the growing discontent in the AAP.
Bhaduri, who is part of three important committees on gender justice, foreign policy and national security, told HT she was stepping down from all three because the AAP had now become "aam aadmi prejudice party".
Bhaduri said she did not want to leave the AAP, but would be surprised if the party called her to meetings involving the committees she represented.
According to the ex-diplomat, who retired as India's ambassador to Lisbon, she wanted the party's national council, which met in the Capital on Friday, to adopt a resolution condemning the Khirki Extension incident.
Bharti is accused of carrying out a vigilante-style raid on alleged sex and drug racket in the area. The incident triggered a major controversy, leading to a stand-off between the Delhi Police, which function under the Union home ministry, and the AAP.
Bhaduri said she sent the text of the resolution to AAP's national executive member Prashant Bhushan on January 17, but never received an acknowledgement.
She did, however, had the support of two other important members, Admiral Ramdas and his wife Lalita Ramdas, who heads the gender justice committee.
The text of the resolution, which Bhaduri wanted to be adopted, reads, "The National Council of AAP unanimously resolves to tender an apology to the women from Uganda and Nigeria, living in Khirki Extension, who were forced to submit themselves to narco tests at the behest of some members and supporters of AAP on the night of 15/16 Jan, 2014."
The resolution text accessed by HT adds, "The party deeply regrets the humiliation caused to the women. The AAP distances itself from any racist comments made by the party and apologises for any such comments by its members and supporters. The AAP is not racist."
Bhaduri told HT she was surrounded by the party's shouting brigade, soon after she started speaking at the national council.
"(AAP leader) Yogendra Yadav told me to stop before I could move the resolution, she said, adding Yadav had also advised "don't make a spectacle, there is a lot of media". Yadav was not immediately available for comment.
AAP leader Ashutosh on Sunday said that there is a difference in opinion between her and the party.
“Bhaduri had raised some questions. But there is a difference in her opinion and the party’s. She was given a chance in the national council meet. The party addressed her questions,” said Ashutosh.
“Afterwards she was the only member who was called on the stage to place her views forward. She also tried to place her views but it is not necessary that the party’s line and member’s line are the same,” he added.
He said the AAP will talk to her and will try to pacify her as she is a member of the party.
“She was a founder member of the party but it is wrong to say that the party organisation does not respect women. We all respect women very much and they are a very important part of the organisation. I think, she should have waited for a while before hurrying into taking a decision,” he added.
Bhaduri, who had joined hands with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during his campaigns for the Right to Information (RTI), said, "It's not about personalities, but Kejriwal did sing songs in the name of humanism after his swearing in on December 28. But I think humanity in AAP is dead."
Asked if she would leave the party, Bhaduri said, "I am a founder member. I don't need to leave it, but I'll be surprised if I'm called for the meetings on gender justice or any of the other committees. I am disillusioned. I thought AAP is a grassroots party with grassroots people, but it is actually a high command party which does not allow voices of dissent."
Bhaduri's outburst adds the newest chapter to rebellion in the AAP ranks. Earlier this month, the party had expelled Binny, who had alleged the party was deviating from its poll promises.
Captain Gopinath, the Deccan Air founder and party leader, in the past had criticised the AAP-led Delhi government for blocking foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.
(With inputs from Agencies)