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Rift wide open in Aam Aadmi Party, but leaders play it down

New Delhi: The 19-month-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was enveloped in its worst crisis on Friday as two of its top leaders traded charges with senior leader Yogendra Yadav, who has been accused by more than one disgruntled colleague of taking the party down the drain though others tried to play down the rift.

Also read: Differences emerge in top AAP rung as Sisodia hits out at Yadav 

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh tried to downplay the differences within since the Lok Sabha election debacle by saying that "contrary views were but natural in the party".

Yogendra Yadav
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav has questioned the party's way of functioning

Out of some 440 seats it contested, the AAP won only four, all in Punjab. It suffered a setback in Delhi, its pocket borough, by failing to win even a single seat.

However, senior advocate and party leader Prashant Bhushan admitted that the AAP, formed in November 2012, "needed restructuring".

The latest crisis centered around a letter written by senior leader Manish Sisodia who accused Yadav of "sabotaging the party and finishing its chief Arvind Kejriwal".

The missive, which was leaked to media Thursday, was apparently written in response to Yadav's recent letter which stated that party "had started moving in the opposite direction, instead of correction".

The psephologist, who had a spat with another party colleague Naveen Jaihind, cited concentration of power in a few hands and policy deficit as the reason for his resignation from the party's Political Affairs Committee.

In his letter, Sisodia said: "In the last 15 days, there has been an intense fight between you and Naveen Jaihind. However, it is very sad that you have brought the fight in front of the public and the media, because of which the party's image is getting tainted."

"It is also shocking that in your (Yadav's) email you have alleged that Kejriwal doesn't listen to the Political Affairs Committee's (PAC) suggestions. As long as Arvind listened to you, he was nice, but now he is not," Sisodia wrote.

The issue figured at the three-day national executive meet of the AAP which began here on Friday.

Jaihind, an AAP leader from Haryana, also accused Yadav of "breaking the party".

However, after the meeting, Sanjay Singh said "Exchanging letters between the party members is but natural."

"It (letter) was part of discussions. These things happen in a party and everything will be sorted out," Sisodia told IANS after the letter he wrote to Yadav was leaked.

Sisodia and Yadav were present at Friday's meeting which took place at Bhushan's residence in Jangpura in south Delhi. During the meeting which began at 1 p.m. and ended after 7 p.m., Yadav and Sisodia sat at a distance from each other and did not talk to each other.

Informed sources said a section of leaders have criticized Yadav over his action.

A prominent member, Kumar Vishwas, however, left the meeting in between citing health reasons.

The AAP leaders also discussed the reasons for core committee members like Shazia Ilmi leaving the party.

A party leader said that they have not spoken to Ilmi, who quit the AAP last month, so far as she was not in the country.

Ilmi had quit the party saying that it was being run by a crony clique.

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