New Delhi, March 27:
Saying they were trying to save the AAP, dissident leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav on Friday accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of suppressing democracy within the party that now rules Delhi.
The duo also said they were willing to give up all posts in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) if their five demands — including transparency within and autonomy to local units — were met by Kejriwal, whose loyalists have accused the two of conspiring to oust the chief minister.
Bhushan and Yadav addressed a press conference after Kejriwal supporters hit out at the two overnight, claiming they had resigned from the AAP National Executive, which is set to meet here on Saturday. Both denied this.
Â“We have never made any attempt to dislodge Kejriwal from his position in the party. The allegations.. that we wanted Kejriwal to be removed from the post of national convenor of the party, are all feeble and baseless,Â” said Yadav, a founder member of AAP.
The main grouse of Bhushan and Yadav was that Kejriwal acted in an autocratic manner and refused to pay heed to dissenting voices in a party that was born in 2012 to give a new kind of politics to India.
Â“Yes, we have warned and alerted Kejriwal against ill-advised and hasty moves and had qestioned him. Is that a crime for a party built on the principles of Swaraj? Â” asked Yadav.
A Supreme Court advocate and an AAP founder, Bhushan alleged that Kejriwal wanted to form a government in Delhi with Congress support last year though the latter had been decisively rejected in the Lok Sabha elections.
He said five of the nine leaders who attended a meeting of the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the highest decision making body, opposed the idea.
“Arvind said that as the national convener, he had the right to take the final decision and (that) he had decided to take Congress’ support to form the government in Delhi,” Bhushan said.
“But we protested and the issue went to the National Executive. There too the majority rejected the idea,” Bhushan said. “Arvind said he (had) never worked in an organisation where his writ didn’t run.”
Â“We sought time from Kejriwal to hold talks and settle the issues but to no avail. We were not given an appointment to meet him to present our side,Â” said Bhushan.
Yadav, a known political pundit, said he and Bhushan were fighting to “save the soul of the struggle” that gave birth to the AAP.
“It is not an ordinary party, it was born out of a revolution to clean the system, end corruption and give power to the common people,” Yadav said.
“People have high hopes from this party. But the developments in the last one month have disappointed many. We are fighting to save the soul of the struggle that gave birth to this party,” he said.
Yadav said he and Bhushan had five demands — transparency in the AAP, autonomy for local units, a Lokpal probe into graft charges against party members, AAP should come within the ambit of the RTI, and an end to secret ballot during election to key posts.
If Kejriwal was ready to accept these five demands, he and Bhushan would resign from all party posts, he said.
Since storming to power in Delhi last month with a brute majority, the AAP has been embroiled in an internal crisis that has pitted Bhushan and Yadav against Kejriwal, the party’s best known face. IANS