Thousands of volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party, AAP, have launched an online campaign in support of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, after party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s loyalists on Wednesday voted out the two founding members from AAP’s key decision-making body, the political affairs committee (PAC).
The party that swept last month’s Delhi election has been torn between two camps, one supporting Kejriwal and the other comprising veterans like Yadav and Bhushan who have accused the chief minister of running things in a dictatorial way.
Kejriwal’s backers have accused the two of trying to challenge Kejriwal’s leadership. At the same time, AAP leaders Mayank Gandhi (Maharashtra), Rakesh Parikh (Rajasthan) and Kamal Mitra Chenoy (Delhi) have questioned the manner in which the two were sacked, indicating a widening of the fault lines within the organisation.
Volunteers have launched an online petition titled: “AAP volunteers seek proof against Shri Yogendra Yadav ji & Shri Prashant Bhushan ji because of which they have been expelled from the PAC.” The change.org petition has, when last checked at 1pm on Saturday, had been signed by 4,332 people. Those running the campaign plan to submit the petition to Kejriwal once 10,000 people have signed it.
The petition reads: “AAP is not made by people in PAC or Arvind Kejriwal. AAP is the result of the toughest exams given by it's volunteers. Volunteers who didn't give up even when every one in this country lost hope after Loksabha election 2014.” “As a person who have been observing this party since Anna's Movement , i think it is a responsibility of PAC members and more importantly Arvind Kejriwal to release those documents , videos , audios, or anythings which proves that the step taken by PAC is right,” it reads.
Those who are signing the petition are also giving their reasons for doing so. “I am signing because I want to know the truth that why these most respectable founder members have been sidelined and PAC has been hijacked by a bunch of sycophants,” says one volunteer.
“I want to know why they are signed out of PAC? The courage which they have shown by just saying the truth is not understood by the party i guess.I don't think the questions they asked were invalid enough to move them away from PAC,” says another.
Mayank Gandhi has also written in his blog that the decision to sack Yadav and Bhushan was against the overwhelming sentiments of AAP volunteers.
While the party on Wednesday went into a huddle to decide the fate of Yadav and Bhushan, AAP volunteers also launched a social media campaign urging the leadership to stay united while scores of supporters gathered outside the meeting venue holding placards of unity.