AAP insiders say internal conflict fanned by external forces trying to oust Kejriwal as CM

AAP insiders allege the controversy started by sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra against Arvind Kejriwal is motivated by BJP.

delhi Updated: May 11, 2017 00:01 IST
Vinod Sharma and Lalita Panicker
Vinod Sharma and Lalita Panicker
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP,BJP,Kapil Mishra
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (in front) walking out of Election Commission’s office with other AAP leaders in April this year.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

A section of Aam Aadmi Party insiders have come to view Kapil Mishra’s rebellion as a sub-plot in what they see as a “BJP-inspired game” to oust Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister through a leadership change in the Delhi Assembly.

Terming as baseless the charges levelled by Mishra against the CM, they pointed to the possibility of the Centre dangling the threat of President’s rule, citing breakdown of constitutional machinery in the Capital.

“The objective behind such tactics will be to foment dissension against Kejriwal to make legislators elect a new leader,” they averred.

BJP’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari dismissed such claims, insisting that Kejriwal cannot blame anyone except himself for losing control of his party’s legislators. “They’re speaking out of a sense of guilt over their misdeeds that have caused cracks in the party…Even the thought of what they’re insinuating hasn’t crossed our mind,” he told HT.

The sections that saw Kejriwal’s leadership in peril also apprehended the arrest of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyendar Jain in cases under investigation. The scenario they painted was of an AAP regime without the incumbent CM at the helm.

They claimed Mishra was doing a hatchet job. Or else, the Lt Governor who doesn’t entertain visitors on weekends wouldn’t have met him on a Sunday.

In their assessment, the disqualification of 20-odd AAP MLAs on the office of profit issue won’t happen anytime soon. Reason: There is no court order yet even on preliminary objections over whether the EC can hear the case.

Mishra had been attempting Kejriwal’s ouster to create room for a new leader for quite some time. As he himself wasn’t popular among legislators, the effort was to build a consensus on an AAP leader who is perceived as ideologically close to the BJP-RSS but isn’t a member of the Assembly.

This leader himself was quite active - with Mishra talent scouting on the sly for support for him. Together they approached individual legislators with the assertion that the strength of pro-change MLAs was as high as 34 - the number required for a majority within the legislative party.

While on possible, wider implications of the Mishra episode, a leader privy to internal party affairs recalled an earlier demand by some MLAs that Kumar Vishwas be made AAP convener in place of the CM who held two posts. They said as the convener’s slot lay in the jurisdiction of the party’s national executive, the real purpose was to raise the leadership question within the legislature party.

Six out 66 AAP MLAs, including Mishra, are either suspended, sacked or have turned renegade. Forty-odd legislators will constitute two-third strength of the party for a legitimate split — and a new leader — under the anti-defection law.



First Published: May 10, 2017 19:14 IST