As images of a calm Arvind Kejriwal doing yoga streamed in from Bengaluru on Thursday morning, hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers were left wondering why the AAP convener and Delhi chief minister didn't return to the Capital to battle horse-trading charges levelled against him after the surfacing of an audio tape.
The tape purportedly has Kejriwal telling former party MLA Rajesh Garg last year to poach six Congress legislators to form the government in Delhi.
Social media was flooded with questions from both supporters and opponents, many of whom revived the 'bhagora' (deserter) tag thrust on the AAP leader last year when he quit the government within 49 days.
"He was working when he had high fever and a racking cough last year. The party is going to pieces in his absence right now and he needs to be here. Only he can contain the mess now," said an AAP volunteer who has been working with the party for close to a year now.
In the tape, the Delhi chief minister can be purportedly heard saying they had tried to poach the Congress legislators many times but hadn't succeeded, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the party.
"I am a staunch AAP supporter and even campaigned for the party in these elections but the party has failed to address these allegations convincingly. Arvind needs to come back and tell us the truth," said Mohd Aslam, a resident of Jungpura.
Kejriwal left for Bangalore on March 5, a day after senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were ousted from the party's powerful political affairs committee. According to AAP spokespersons, the chief minister is undergoing naturopathy for elevated blood sugar levels.
Party spokesperson Sanjay Singh, meanwhile on Thursday, ruled out any tests to verify the authenticity of the tape. "Authentication is needed when something wrong is being said. Is there any mention of money or cabinet berths being offered? We agree that some of us met Congress leaders to discuss the possibility of government formation. We wanted to stop the BJP," Singh said.