NEW DELHI (TIP): High voltage drama has been seen in the last few days in Aam Aadmi Party, with top party members being shown the door after AAP’s National Executive meet. A heavily edited video was also released, March 28 showing Arvind Kejriwal’s speech at the meeting where Kejriwal gave no chance for other voices in the party.
Two founding members and party stalwarts Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan have been removed from AAP’s national executive and key panels. The Aam Aadmi Party made further changes earlier on March 28, strengthening the grip of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the organization by replacing its Lokpal, retired Admiral L. Ramdas, with a team of three ombudsmen, who include two former police officers..
Kejriwal’s faction in the AAP moved swiftly on Sunday, March 29 to consolidate its position following the ouster of Bhushan and Yadav a day earlier.
Meanwhile; Social activist Medha Patkar announced on Saturday, March 28 that she had decided to resign as primary member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), following the turbulent events in Delhi in which the party ousted a group of senior leaders. “I am convinced that there is no scope for activists like me to work in this party. I have been thinking about what is happening in the party for several weeks; finally the events in Delhi today have disappointed me to such a level that I have decided to quit,” she said in Mumbai.
10 developments in the AAP story-
- At a resort on the outskirts of Delhi, around 250 AAP leaders voted Yadav, Bhushan and two others, out of the party’s National Executive.
- “It was murder of democracy,” said Yadav, alleging that bouncers dragged his supporters out of the meeting so that Kejriwal’s supporters could prevail. Bhushan alleged “goondagardi (hooliganism).”
- Yadav and Bhushan did not rule out legal action, saying “all options are open.”
- They openly hit out at Arvind Kejriwal. “He has displayed today that is that he is willing to use his dictatorial powers to ruthlessly stifle dissent and ruthlessly stop any discussion or opposition to what he wants,” Bhushan said.
- Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, did not vote and left after making an hour-long speech in which he reportedly tore into his critics in the party. He returned later in the evening, and said in an emotional speech, “Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan tried to defeat AAP in Delhi polls. Prashant Bhushan betrayed my trust, cannot work with him. I trusted Bhushan, went to jail for 15 days.”
- Hours later, activist Medha Patkar quit the party condemning the way Yadav and Bhushan were treated. “We didn’t expect this from AAP,” she said.
- AAP rubbished the allegations. “The talk about bouncers is totally false. We have signatures from 247 people, eight people voted in their favour,” said party leader Sanjay Singh.
- The infighting has hit India’s newest party just after it took power in Delhi following a record poll victory.
- On Friday, a secretly-taped phone conversation was leaked, in which Kejriwal was heard abusing Bhushan and Yadav and saying, “Any other party would have thrown them out.”
- Yadav and Bhushan claim they are being forced out of the party for demanding more transparency and internal democracy. A disciplinary committee is likely to decide on them soon.