I will continue to work for AAP, says Yogendra Yadav

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 03, 2015 10:25 IST

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav, who is in the middle of a rift within the AAP, has said he will be a part of the party as long as it continues to work for the people and nurture their hopes.

The AAP is in strife with its internal lokpal pointing to a breakdown in mutual trust in the top leadership, and two senior leaders — Yadav and Prashant Bhushan — accusing it of abandoning its guiding principles.

Sources says the two senior leaders may be asked to step down from a top decision-making body at a national executive meeting on Wednesday as the two-yearold outfit tries to douse the flames after a series of leaked letters complaining about its functioning exposed a growing rift.

In an interview to the Hindustan Times, Yadav said he will go for the national executive meeting if he is invited.

"I do not know where these rumours and information originated from. AAP is a signal of hope for a large number of people in and outside Delhi. As long as it continues to work as a vehicle for good work, I will be part of it," said Yadav when asked whether he is going to resign from the party.

"As of now, I am discharging the responsibility given to me by the party. I will do the same if I am given a different responsibility. I am not in the party for a position," he added.

"For any party, it is a constant struggle maintaining a balance between being an alternative and being viable. Each party needs opportunities to recover and rebuild. This is why we suggested corrective measures. It is not about personalities. These are institutional questions."

The AAP has been struggling to paper over the cracks that emerged less than a month after it formed the government in the Capital, following a spectacular victory in the assembly polls.

The letters, written by senior functionaries, reveal deep factionalism, with one camp criticising what it described as a “one-person-centric campaign” — a veiled reference to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The leaders also alleged attempts to seek Congress support to form the Delhi government last year, something Kejriwal had denied at the time.

The letters indicate Yadav, advocates Shanti Bhushan and his son Prashant Bhushan and party ombudsman (lokpal) Admiral L Ramdas were in one camp, sources said.

Their scathing letters are being seen as a conspiracy against Kejriwal with AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh saying on Monday a plot to remove the CM as the party's national convener was afoot for the last six to eight months.

The leaked documents and Yadav's and Prashant Bhushan's role will be discussed in the Wednesday meeting, he said, adding Kejriwal will remain the party national convener.

The party asked its national executive member Anand Kumar and two other senior leaders to find a conciliatory path between Kejriwal and the BhushanYadav duo.

Kumar sought to dispel rumours about the breakdown within the party saying the issue of reconstitution of the Political Affairs Committee, the AAP's highest decision-making body, is nothing new.

"It’s been on the agenda for a while. It has no Dalit or woman member. Such an organisation is always incomplete. We must broaden our decision-making process. That Arvind Kejriwal is the convener of the party is not the issue. Nobody, including Bhushan and Yadav, wants him to discontinue," Kumar told HT.

Speaking about the rift in the party, he said there is "no cold war" in AAP and added that whatever has been reported in the media is "half-truth".

"Bhushan and Yadav do not need AAP as much as AAP needs them. The story of the Aam Aadmi Party is incomplete without them. They are among the best minds in the country. AAP will be weakened if the two leave or are told to leave," said Kumar.

"Problem is any quest for self criticism, strategy review or course correction gets equated in the media as ‘crisis’. It may be better to use a different set of concepts to make sense of the dynamics of AAP which has gone through extremes of failures and successes in a very short span of time."

This is not the first time differences between Kejriwal and Yadav have spilled out into the open. The academic offered to quit from the party in June last year but a compromise was reached.

Kumar said the party must resolve the crisis because letting it "linger will be suicidal".

"It is time for AAP founders to assert themselves and arrest the drift. It can only be done through dialogue and dignity. It’s good that leaders are taking recourse to debate. We, as a party, must realise Kejriwal and Bhushan or Yadav are not obstacles in each others' path."

In a national executive meeting on February 26, Kejriwal also said he would like to resign from his position as AAP national convener. Party insiders said one camp wanted Yadav to take over but Kejriwal supporters convinced him to stay.

Meanwhile, people close to Kejriwal such as Ashish Khetan have been inducted in the Delhi government, sources said. Plans to expand to other states have also been put on hold by the Delhi CM despite a keen interest by Yadav, they added.

The internal crisis deepened after Bhushan’s February 26 letter said the party’s systems of accountability and state lokpals were dysfunctional. A note by Yadav and Bhushan also raked up the issue of the controversial donations to AAP.

Hitting back at the duo, state leader Dilip Pandey in another letter on Sunday had accused Yadav of conspiring to take over the post of the national convener from Kejriwal.

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