The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday removed Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from its key decision-making political affairs committee (PAC), days after the two senior leaders questioned the functioning of party convener Arvind Kejriwal.
The move was aimed at dousing the flames of revolt in the young party, but sources said contentious issues raised by the rebel faction, such as Kejriwal’s perceived dictatorial style of running things and lack of transparency, remain unresolved.
The decision was made by a narrow majority as, according to reports, eight members of the party’s national executive voted in favour of Bhushan and Yadav, while 11 voted against them during a marathon meeting in the Capital.
The AAP, which won a record mandate in the recently held Delhi assembly elections, has been struggling to paper over the cracks after a series of leaked letters revealed deep factionalism less than a month after it stormed to power in Delhi.
Yadav and Bhushan were reportedly asked to put forth their clarifications in the national executive on the statements they have made in the past two weeks criticising the party’s functioning.
“The sticking point is expanding the party’s national footprint, but Kejriwal is not completely convinced with the idea,” an AAP leader said.
Another AAP leader said, “Yadav, Prashant and a few others are in favour of an expansion. This difference will not resolve on its own. Moreover, those who swear by the party’s constitution would not give up the issue of transparency very easily."
AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who chaired the nearly six-hour-long meeting, announced that the national executive rejected Delhi chief minister Kejriwal’s resignation as party convener.
“All leaders expressed commitment to work together for the party. There are no differences,” he said.
The AAP reassigned Yadav as the head of its farmers’ committee while he will continue to be a member of the national executive, sources said.
“As a disciplined worker of the party, I will try to fulfil whatever role is assigned to me to the best of my capacity. The AAP has been formed with the sweat and labour of people. It should never dash people’s hopes,” Yadav said.
Kejriwal failed to attend the meeting because of ill health, though he was at the Delhi secretariat till about 5pm.
According to media reports, the PAC is being reconstituted and Bhushan may also be assigned new responsibilities within the party.
Senior advocate and AAP leader HS Phoolka accused Yadav and his associates of being hungry for power and described the senior leader as a destabilising influence within the party.
“There are others who are very keen about posts. The national executive will decide today about why these people are trying to destabilise the party,” he said ahead of the meeting.
When asked who the “other” people were, Phoolka said, “Yogendra Yadav and group.”
The national executive was meant to be the AAP’s top executive body while the PAC was expected to take swift decisions between two national executive meetings. But, Yadav had pointed out, the PAC had become all-powerful and fewer national executive meetings were taking place, allowing only a few people to make key decisions.
Sources said Kejriwal was not comfortable with the presence of Bhushan and Yadav in the PAC and wanted more freedom.