Rival factions of the Aam Aadmi Party are working towards reconciliation after Arvind Kejriwal’s return to Delhi, with leaders close to the Delhi chief minister holding talks with dissident leader Yogendra Yadav on issues that have riven the two-year-old party.
Senior AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan met Yadav late on Monday night, shortly after a “fresh and fit” Kejriwal returned from Bengaluru, where he had checked into a naturopathy institute to be treated for a chronic cough and high blood sugar.
The leaders said there would be more meetings to iron out differences that emerged into the open after founder-members Yadav and Prashant Bhusan were sacked from the Political Affairs Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, on March 4.
The Political Affairs Committee will meet for the first time since Yadav and Bhusan were dropped at 8pm on Tuesday to discuss all developments since Kejriwal went to Bengaluru for his treatment, party leaders said.
After Monday’s meeting, Vishwas said: “The meeting with Yogendra Yadav was positive…many more round of talks will take place."
He claimed a good beginning had been made. “We shall overcome (the crisis in the party)," he said.
Yadav said: "A dialogue was initiated today. It was good. Talks have just started."
Bhushan told the media he had sought a meeting with Kejriwal. "I have said that I would like to meet him as soon as possible so that we can sit together," he said.
According to reports, Ashutosh, Vishwas, Singh and Ashish Khetan are likely to meet both Yadav and Bhushan on Tuesday.
Kejriwal has reportedly expressed his displeasure over the statements by the AAP leaders in the media over the internal rift within the party.
The internal crisis has cast a pall on the rookie party soon after its stellar victory in the Delhi assembly polls, during which it obliterated the Congress and BJP.
The meeting between the AAP leaders and Yadav on Monday night was the first sign of a possible rapprochement between the rival factions after a tumultuous spell of allegations and counter-allegations.
The party has been struggling to paper over the cracks after a series of leaked letters revealed two camps – one supporting Kejriwal and the other comprising veterans like Yadav and Bhushan who say the chief minister is dictatorial.
AAP has also been hit by the leak of audio tapes of conversations purportedly featuring Kejriwal. Former party MLA Rajesh Garg has accused Kejriwal of trying to poach six Congress MLAs to form government in Delhi last year. Garg also claimed Manish Sisodia, now deputy chief minister in Kejriwal's cabinet, was in touch with the Congress MLAs.
Another tape purportedly had Kejriwal talking about Muslims supporting AAP in the recent polls in order to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi.