The rebel faction of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) owing allegiance to Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan claims support for the two founder members is growing. But whether the duo can challenge the Arvind Kejriwal-led party will be clear in two weeks.
In an acrimonious showdown spurred by Kejriwal’s 'either me or them' charge, Yadav and Bhushan were on last Saturday sacked from the party’s 21-member national executive for rebellion. They have now invited volunteers and leaders from states for 'a detailed discussion' on April 14.
“We will meet those feeling betrayed. The way forward could or could not be a political party. We will take a decision only after consultations. We need to continue focusing on issues such as land, environment, and communalism,” said a member of the rebel faction.
On March 4, the two leaders were sacked from AAP’s top decision-making body, the political affairs committee (PAC), for challenging Kejriwal’s leadership. The two leaders -- who have accused Kejriwal of suppressing democracy within the party -- are now staring at complete ouster from the party.
“Many seen with the party are broken from the inside. We’re expecting a large number of members of the party and its various panels. There might be surprises in fresh support. The meeting might take place in Delhi or even outside the city,” said another aide from the camp.
Those who voted in favour of the duo on March 4, when the party successfully moved to sack Yadav and Bhushan, were Tamil Nadu’s Christina Samy, Uttar Pradesh’s Rakesh Sinha, Maharashtra’s Subhash Ware and Haryana’s Ashwant Gupta.
Maharashtra’s Mayank Gandhi who abstained from voting later blogged and criticised the manner in which the two were removed from the nine-member PAC by 11 to 8 votes.
On Saturday, the two, along with Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, were forced out of AAP’s national executive, after 247 of the 311 national council members voted for the ouster of the quartet. Yadav and Bhushan claimed many of their supporters were not allowed to vote while many non-council members were let in.
“If more than 10% of the council members feel the meeting was a farce, a fresh meeting can be convened. Kejriwal is not bigger than the party. This is a party of volunteers,” Kumar said.
AAP is splitting in states such as Bihar, Karnataka, Rajshthan and Punjab. AAP’s leader in the Lok Sabha and Patiala MPD haramveer Gandhi is supporting the rebels. Medha Patkar, social activist and Maharashtra leader, has quit and said AAP had become a ‘tamasha’ . Even three Delhi MLAs are supporting the rebels.
AAP removes Yadav as chief spokesperson
The party also on Tuesday removed Yadav, Bhushan along with Anand Kumar from its list of spokespersons. Yadav was the party’s sole chief spokesperson till now. Another leader Atishi Marlena has also been removed. New faces included as spokesperson are Iliyas Azmi, H S Phoolka, Bhagwant Mann, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Adarsh Shashtri, Nishikant Mohapatra, AlkaLamba, Akshay Hunka, Richa Pandey Mishra.