Yadav, Bhushan allege authoritarianism in AAP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on March 27, 2015

Pitched battle: AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav addressing a press confrence in New Delhi on Friday. - KAMAL NARANG

Offer to quit party panel if five key demands are met; Kejriwal remains mum on issue

A day ahead of the crucial national council meeting of the AAP, infighting split the party wide open on Friday.

Dissenting founding leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav attacked national convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s “authoritarian” approach.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal supporter Sanjay Singh hit back at the duo for “denting” the party’s image and “violating” its code of conduct by going public with their differences.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal continued to remain silent on the sordid affairs rocking the AAP soon after it rode to power in Delhi with a massive mandate.

Addressing a press conference after conciliatory talks between the two factions failed, Bhushan and Yadav, who were recently removed from the AAP’s political affairs committee, said they are now being “forced” to resign from the national executive.

But they would not do so as their “struggle is to save the soul of the movement that led to the birth of AAP”, they added.

What they want

The duo said they had raised five demands: transparency in party functioning; autonomy for State units to fight local polls; a Lokpal probe into graft charges against party members; bringing the AAP under the ambit of the RTI Act; and ending secret ballot during election to key party posts.

“We will quit tomorrow if these demands are met,” they said, adding that the issues raised by them are not personal but concern the “trust and expectations of thousands of people and volunteers who landed up at Ramlila Maidan”.

Bhushan said the crisis began after the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, when the party was on the one hand involved in a case in Supreme Court seeking dissolution of the Delhi Assembly, while on the other, a letter was sent to the Lt Governor saying the Assembly should not be dissolved.

He alleged that Kejriwal sought to form a government with Congress support, and that “many” national executive members were not in favour of this.

In a separate press conference, Kejriwal supporter Singh refuted the allegations, saying a “majority” of national executive members had been in favour of forming a government in Delhi with Congress support, and accused the duo of “doublespeak” and trying to “weaken” the party.

Means and end

Bhushan, while appreciating Kejriwal’s other qualities, said the latter has two “fatal flaws” that could destroy the party — an authoritarian approach, and a tendency to overlook means to achieve the end.

“Mrs (Indira) Gandhi would have also thought she was doing some good for the country (when she imposed Emergency). (Narendra) Modi would have thought teaching Muslims a lesson will be good for the country,” he said, adding that means are as important as the end.

To remove any misgivings and for greater transparency, all party meetings should be video-graphed and volunteers should have a say in party decisions, Bhushan added.

Published on March 27, 2015
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