Aam Aadmi Party’s political affairs committee (PAC), the party’s top decision-making body will meet at 8pm today at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house in Ghaziabad.
Top party leaders will go into a huddle after dissident AAP leader Yogendra Yadav met senior party leaders late on Monday night, in signs of rapprochement between two rival factions in the two-year-old party after a tumultuous spell of allegations and counter-allegations.
“Kejrwal had been away for 10-15 days. Today, we will sit down and discuss everything with him,” party leader Sanjay Singh said. AAP leader Ashutosh told HT: “Everything will be reviewed at the PAC meeting.”
This comes about two weeks after 21-member AAP national executive voted out the party’s two founding members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the all-powerful PAC for anti-party activities.
The PAC is holding a meeting after several AAP MLAs ran a campaign, asking Kejriwal to oust Yadav and Bhushan from the party, for “they tried to derail the Delhi assembly election campaign.” The PAC may also discuss the agenda of AAP's national council meeting which is likely to be held on March 28.
After the exit of Bhushan and Yadav from the 9-member PAC, the rest of the members include Kejriwal, Gopal Rai, Ilias Azmi, Kumar Vishwash, Manish Sisodia, Pankaj Gupta and Sanjay Singh.
Senior AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan were present at the late-night meeting, which happened soon after 'fresh and fit' Kejriwal returned to Delhi from Bengaluru after undergoing naturopathy treatment for cough and blood sugar.
Kejriwal on his return expressed unhappiness over statements in media on party rifts, saying this was affecting the morale of volunteers, and asked Ashutosh, Singh, and Khetan to hold talks with Yadav and Bhushan. Bhushan was not part of the talks that went on till 2:30am as he reportedly said he would meet only Kejriwal.
On Monday, Bhushan had sent a text to Kejriwal saying he wanted to meet the AAP chief “either alone or with Yogendra ji to sort out the problems.” Kejriwal is understood to have sent a reply that “we will meet soon". Bhushan had also sent a text to Kejriwal on March 4, to which, he says, the latter did not respond.
Emerging out of the late-night meeting at Yadav’s house in East Delhi, Singh said, “Talks have begun on the worrying recent developments in the party. Meeting with Yogendra Yadav was positive, many more round of talks will take place." Vishwas tweeted: “We shall overcome.”
Yadav also betrayed positive signals. “It was good. Talks have just started. When our talks will complete, then we will tell the press,” he said. Asked about his meeting with Kejriwal, he said later in the day: “Zaroor milenge, jaise hi samay milega, unse zaroor milenge.”
AAP has been struggling to paper over the cracks after a series of leaked letters revealed two camps -- one supporting Kejriwal and the other comprising veterans like Yadav and Bhushan who said the chief minister is dictatorial.
Bhushan and Yadav have in an open letter to AAP volunteers said they hoped to work for party unity, questioning 'unilateral decisions' taken by Kejriwal.
Apart from the power struggle, a stinging row has hit the AAP of late, with former party MLA Rajesh Garg accusing Kejriwal of trying to poach six Congress MLAs to form the government last year. Garg also claimed that Sisodia, now the deputy chief minister in Kejriwal's cabinet, was in touch with the Congress MLAs to lure them to float a new party and then support the AAP from outside.
As the rookie party grappled with a series of controversies, AAP national executive member Anand Kumar, however, expressed hope that Kejriwal's return from Bengaluru will lead to the "meeting of hearts and minds".