New Delhi: Minus a last-minute change of mind, AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav may be out of its top body on Wednesday even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was "deeply hurt and pained" by an ugly strife that has gripped Delhi's barely month-old ruling party.
AAP sources told IANS that the majority in the 21-member National Executive, which meets on Wednesday, favoured ousting Bhushan, a leading Supreme Court lawyer and an AAP founder, and political pundit Yadav from the nine-member, decision-making Political Affairs Committee (PAC). The decision, if carried out, would mean that Bhushan and Yadav would cease to be decision makers in a party that is sure to expand its wings in the country once it cements its foundation in Delhi.
Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav
And if Bhushan and Yadav take their ouster from the PAC as a slight, they could exit from the Aam Aadmi Party, which stormed to power in the capital Delhi only a month ago sweeping 67 of the 70 assembly seats. "The majority is determined to act against Yadav and Bhushan," a high-level AAP source told IANS. "Most feel that they have brought a bad name to the AAP by talking about the lack of so-called internal democracy in the party.
"It is clear they are ganging up against Kejriwal, who has virtually destroyed his own health rebuilding the party from scratch over the past one year," the source added. The source admitted that a small section in the party, including in the National Executive, was in favour of not doing anything that could lead to the possible exit of Bhushan and Yadav from the AAP.
The AAP meanwhile announced that Kejriwal, who is not expected to attend Wednesday's National Executive meeting, was flying to Bengaluru on Wednesday for 10 days of naturopathy treatment for his high sugar levels. "I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that (the people of) Delhi reposed in us," the AAP chief tweeted, adding he won't allow "people's trust to be broken". "I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle. Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance," he added.
Kejriwal's comments appeared to indicate he was distancing himself from his known supporters who have threatened to act tough against Bhushan and Yadav. On Tuesday, Prashant Bhushan's father Shanti Bhushan, also a leading lawyer, urged his son, Yadav and Kejriwal to "stick together". "Kejriwal should continue as all-India convenor. Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav must support him.
"That's the best for the party, and such a stand will achieve the goals for which the party was set up. There should be no rift," said Shanti Bhushan, who himself has made critical comments against Kejriwal earlier. Yadav said on Tuesday: "I and Prashant Bhushan had raised voice for internal democracy in the party. There is nothing wrong in that. I will see if action happens against me."
In what was viewed as an obvious attack on Kejriwal, Bhushan and Yadav have been quoted as questioning the party's "one person-centric" approach -- in internal communications leaked to the media. Bhushan on Tuesday refused to speak to the media. Yadav is being accused by a section of the AAP of trying to oust Kejriwal as its national convenor. AAP leaders appealing for peace deny this.
The AAP said that Kejriwal's sugar level was above 300. "So he has decided to opt for naturopathy." In Kejriwal's absence, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will officiate as chief minister. Kejriwal, who became chief minister of Delhi a second time last month, has been a long-time diabetic.
Officials in Bengaluru said Kejriwal will be admitted to the Jindal Naturecure Institute on the outskirts of the city Thursday. The institute, spread over 10 acres of lush greenery, provides relief, prevention and cure of specific diseases through a non-invasive, drugless therapy.