In an acrimonious showdown spurred by Arvind Kejriwal’s “either me or them” charge, the AAP on Saturday sacked rebel leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, along with two of their supporters, from its national executive, pushing the party towards a split.
“Democracy was murdered and Kejriwal looked away,” Yadav said of the decision taken at a meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party’s 392-member national council. The rebel camp claimed the proceedings were rigged, rules flouted and ‘bouncers’ brought in to keep away those who disagreed with the Delhi chief minister.
Saturday’s action - which followed the duo’s March 4 ouster from the political affairs committee, AAP’s top decision-making body, and a total breakdown in reconciliation efforts - could be a prelude to their sacking from the party itself. Expulsion is not possible without a formal case of indiscipline, and AAP said it would be taking disciplinary action against those making anti-party statements in the media.
Dramatic scenes played out at the venue - a resort owned by a party MLA on the Kapashera border - as volunteers from both camps kept up a steady war of words, shouting “party humaari aap ki, nahi kisi ke baap ki” and “gaddaron ko bahar nikalon”.
Inside, Kejriwal - having kept a studied silence all this while - made his case in an hour-long address. “If the party decides, I will quit and relinquish all posts. Now it is up to you to decide if you want me or them,” a senior AAP leader quoted the CM as saying. “Two groups of AAP were working in the Delhi election… When the whole party was working towards victory, the other was scheming for its defeat,” he reportedly said.