Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan said on Tuesday he felt the AAP should be absolutely firm on its ethical principles but Delhi chief minister and party convener Arvind Kejriwal once told him they needed to make certain compromises in politics.
"I told Arvind you have remarkable qualities. You must recognise you have weaknesses. He said yes I do," Prashant Bhushan told NDTV in an interview.
"I have told him this myself. Arvind, I believe you have two serious weaknesses. One, (your wish that) your decision should be carried out. Though your political judgement is mostly right, it is much safer to have credible people who can differ with you," Bhushan said on being asked about Kejriwal's weaknesses.
"The second thing is I feel is we have to be absolutely firm on our principles. Arvind told me 'in politics, you have to make some compromises'," Bhushan added.
"I was quite unhappy because of the way the candidates were selected (for the Delhi assembly elections)," Bhushan said on being asked why he did not actively campaign for the polls.
Kejriwal tweeted soon after the Bhushan's interview was aired on Tuesday morning: "I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that Delhi posed in us… I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle. Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance. Janata ke bharose ko kissi bhi haalat mein tootne nahin doonga."
Peeved at its senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Bhushan's criticism of Kejriwal's approach, the party on Monday hinted at acting tough against the duo in a national executive meet on Wednesday.
The party's official stand became clear a day after a joint letter by Yadav and Bhushan was leaked to the media which questioned the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) "one person-centric" approach and criticised it on various fronts.
"The attempts were being made to remove Kejriwal as the national convener of the party," AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, obliquely referring to Yadav and Bhushan at a press conference.
Several AAP leaders bickered after Bhushan made his criticism of Kejriwal public on Tuesday. "Prashant ji is a respected member of party, but I feel he shouldn't have made such statements in public… He could have put forth his complaints in national executive meeting tomorrow (Wednesday), should have expressed his views in party forum," AAP leader and former journalist Ashutosh said.
Bhushan, meanwhile, confirmed he would not attend the national executive meet. "I will not attend tomorrow's (AAP) national executive meet, have prior engagements," he told ANI.
In the interview aired on Tuesday, Bhushan also spoke about the functioning of the AAP. "The real issue is that there has been some evidence that the party has slipped from principles of transparency… There is certainly a great danger of that happening in the party (on a high-command culture, where only one person calls the shots)," he said.
He denied that he and Yadav tried to remove him from the post of the national convener. "We have some differences with Arvind and we have tried to resolve them… Where ever we had differences, I used to tell Arvind… But Yogendra Yadav or I never talked about removing him," he said.
Bhushan admitted he was having trouble communicating with the Delhi CM. "There has been a breakdown of communication. For the last few days we have not spoken to each other. But I am open and willing to talk," Bhushan said.