Shanti Bhushan's U-turn: 'Prashant, Yogendra must support Kejriwal'

  • HT Correspondent and Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 03, 2015 21:09 IST

Aam Aadmi Party founding member Shanti Bhushan called for truce in the party on Tuesday, hours after his son and party leader Prashant Bhushan virtually accused Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of running a personality cult.

"Differences in the party are not right. Prashant and Yogendra Yadav should support Kejriwal," Shanti Bhushan told NDTV.

Going back on his earlier stand that Kejriwal should step down as national convenor, Shanti Bhushan said: It's for Kejriwal to decide what to do. He can make someone deputy convenor and retain both the posts,”

His remarks came shortly after AAP leader Prashant Bhushan told NDTV in an interview that there was a danger the party would soon have a "high command" culture , where one person calls the shots.

"The party needs people who can stand up to Kejriwal and differ with him," Prashant Bhushan told the television channel.

He further said that while he strongly believed in sticking to ethical principles, Kejriwal once told him that "you have to make some compromises" in politics.

Reacting to this allegation Kejriwal tweeted: “I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that Delhi posed in us."

Bhushan, who may reportedly exit AAP with another leader, Yogendra Yadav, said there was a breakdown of communications with Kejriwal, the party’s convenor.

"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 his differences with Kejriwal.

Bhushan also said the AAP "has slipped from principles of transparency", an apparent reference to the bogus funding scam wherein the party was accused of accepting donation cheques from shell companies.

His sharp criticism came on a day the Indian Express reported that the AAP had taped a telephone conversation between Yadav and a journalist to build a case against him.

The report said Kejriwal's aide Bibhav Kumar called up the reporter after her critical piece on the party's strategy during the Haryana state elections and was told the inputs came from Yadav.

Following the report, Yadav in a Facebook post hit out against the "unethical" practice of recording conversations to settle intra-party squabbles, while at the same time rejecting the journalist's claim that sensitive information on Haryana polls was passed on to her.

The party has hinted at action against Bhushan and Yadav during a national executive meet to be held on Wednesday. "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 news conference on Monday.

Other AAP leaders joined issue after Bhushan's interview. "Prashantji is a respected member of the party, but I feel he shouldn't have made such statements in public…He could have put forth his complaints in the national executive meeting , should have expressed his views in the party forum," said journalist-turned-AAP leader Ashutosh.

Prashant Bhushan, meanwhile, has returned to Delhi and is likely to attend the party national executive meeting on Wednesday.

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