Only a fortnight after creating electoral history in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is doing crisis management with its internal Lokpal pointing to breakdown in mutual trust in top leadership, and two senior leaders---Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav---raising even more serious questions. AAP has asked three senior leaders—Anand Kumar, Pankaj Gupta, and Gopal Rai—to resolve the
. AAP’s national executive member Anand Kumar tells Hindustan Times that talks are underway to find a conciliatory path between Delhi chief minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal, and the Bhushan-Yadav duo.
Q: What’s your assessment? Where does AAP go from here?
I’m extremely worried. We don’t want AAP to go the Janta Party way which disintegrated because sycophants caused rifts between leaders. We dealt with our failure. It’s a crisis of success. We are trying to find a conciliatory path between Kejriwal, and our two other veterans. Idealists are assets, but they are unable to become pragmatist. We think since we won Delhi, we have won the whole country. We must avoid political immaturity.
Q: What led to this power struggle?
The issue of reconstitution of Political Affairs Committee, AAP’s highest decision-making body, is nothing new. It’s been on the agenda for a while. It has no Dalit or woman representation. Such an organisation is always incomplete. We must broaden our decision-making process. Arvind Kejriwal was not entirely comfortable with the presence of Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav in the PAC. The two veterans have also expressed they have no desire to remain in the PAC.
Q: Some AAP members are already saying the two leaders must go…
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav do not need AAP as much as AAP needs them. The story of 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. 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.
Q: How critical is the resolution of this situation?
We must resolve it. Letting it linger will be suicidal. But it is good that leaders are taking recourse to dialogue and debate to air their views. Even Arvind Kejriwal has not held back; he has clearly expressed his emotions. We, as a party, must realise Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan or Yogendra Yadav are not obstacles in each others’ path. Our fight is against (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah. Our fight is against crony capitalists.
Q: But clearly there are two groups in the party. Won't governance in Delhi be impacted?
Whatever is coming in media is half-truth. There is no cold war. We’re trying to get closer. You cannot have a democratic party which doesn’t have difference of opinion. The challenge is to run the party, and expand it, and rule Delhi effectively and make it a world-class city. We need to expand to Punjab, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh. We must be careful. Those decimated by us in Delhi are looking for chances to weaken us.