In a direct impact of the political instability in the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) central team in Delhi, the state unit of the party may now face a vertical split — with separate camps of those supporting party convener Arvind Kejriwal and leader Yogendra Yadav.
While earlier the bickering in the state unit was confined to the party forums, the exit of Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party’s political affairs committee has exposed its various factions. Leaders like Anjali Damania and Preeti Sharma Menon, the party’s former convener and general secretary respectively, owe allegiance to Kejriwal, while the current state executive — including Subhash Ware and Sanjeev Sane, among others — are believed to be close to Yadav.
Gandhi and Damania have been squabbling on internal party forums. Emails have been exchanged with allegations and counter-allegations being levelled against each other, said sources. Damania had also written to the party raising questions over the dual posts of the state convener and national executive member given to Ware. But now the fight is out in the open.
According to sources, the power tussle is to take control of the state unit and for a larger role in the party’s plans of contesting the 2017 civic polls in Mumbai. Leaders admit the squabbling in the party has a lot to do with political ambitions.
Hindustan Times was the first to report in December last year about the factionalism and dissent in the state unit of the party.
Sources said the squabbling had also led to most of the prominent faces being sidelined in a reshuffle last year. However, those close to Kejriwal saw the reshuffle as Yadav’s way of appointing those close to him on key positions.
Gandhi, in his latest blog on Saturday, said his detractors may want to either delay the decision on the party’s stand on contesting the BMC polls or force back out from the polls. “Every leader involved here has a political ambition. Gandhi wants to lead the party in the 2017 civic polls, while Damania wants to be reinstated as the state convener,” said a party leader.
“All I want to say is the party members should stop writing blog posts and media interviews. If they have issues with the party’s functioning, they must voice their opinion through appropriate party forums,” said Damania.
HT spoke to various party leaders, but all of them refused to give their views. Meena Karnik, head of the party’s state media cell, too, refused to comment.