The very public bickering in AAP turned uglier Saturday as supporters of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal fended off fresh attacks over the recent disciplinary action against senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, including from two founding members of the party.
Maharashtra leader Anjali Damania claimed Bhushan had wanted the Aam Aadmi Party to lose the assembly elections so Yadav could be made party chief, and accused Yadav of leaking an internal document.
On the other side of the fence, her colleague from the same state, Mayank Gandhi, wrote a second blog in three days accusing Delhi leaders of attacking him for questioning the manner in which Yadav and Bhushan were sacked from the political affairs committee (PCA), AAP’s key decision-making body. The voting process to remove them was also criticised by national executive member from Rajasthan Rakesh Parikh.
Also in support of the duo, AAP volunteers were running an online petition seeking a clarification on their ouster that had been signed by 4,500 supporters till late Saturday. When that number reaches 10,000, it will be submitted to Kejriwal.
“Attacks have begun against me… More will come and I will finally be humiliated so much that I will quit. Let me see if I can withstand the muck that will be thrown (at me),” Gandhi wrote, two days after his first blog challenging AAP’s gag order after the Yadav-Bhushan incident. He added that “non-transparent decisions have alienated volunteers”, but clarified that he wasn’t anti-Kejriwal.
On Friday, Parikh had stated that the decision to sack Yadav and Bhushan was “one man’s”. Distancing itself from this comment, AAP’s Rajasthan unit released a statement Saturday: “It was Parikh’s personal view and the state unit was with the party’s official stand of removing the two leaders from PAC.”
“The Rajasthan team will meet tomorrow. Give us some time. There is nothing we can’t resolve among ourselves,” Parikh tweeted.
Damania, on her part, said, “On January 27, I met Prashant ji at his office. I was stunned when he said he wanted the party to lose the elections. I was so upset I picked up my bag and walked out.” She adding that the senior lawyer had also discouraged donations to AAP and volunteers from joining the Delhi campaign.
She held Yadav responsible for leaking a letter by AAP member Laxminarayan Ramdas expressing concern over the breakdown of trust in the top leadership. Attacking Gandhi and seeking action against him, she said he too had been part of the decision to sack Yadav and Bhushan from the PAC.
Less than a month after a monster victory in Delhi, AAP has disintegrated into chaos and is now torn between camps — one supporting Kejriwal and the other comprising veterans like Yadav and Bhushan who have accused the CM of being dictatorial. In his recently released book, AAP leader had written that accusations within AAP of Kejriwal’s “supremo style” of functioning had left the party chief in tears and driven him to offer to quit last year.