Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with his Deputy and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia leave for the budget session of the Assembly, in New Delhi, Mar. 24. (Vijay Kumar Joshi | PTI)
Reconciliation talks between the two warring factions in AAP have collapsed following which two prominent leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan accused Arvind Kejriwal camp of trying to force them to resign from the national executive and not heeding to any of their concerns, Mar. 26. A Press Trust of India report.
In an open letter to party chief Arvind Kejriwal two days ahead of AAP’s crucial national council meeting, Bhushan and Yadav said the the message conveyed to them during reconciliation talks was that either they should resign gracefully or face removal from the national executive.
“Slowly it dawned upon us that the principle intent of these talks is to secure our resignation. The bottomline for interlocutors from your side was that the two of us must resign from the national executive. We were told that this is your personal insistence.
“We were told that you are not willing to be the national convener as long as the two of us are members of national executive,” Bhushan and Yadav said in the letter.
AAP leader Ashutosh, known to be a Kejriwal loyalist, said talks have failed as Bhushan and Yadav were adamant on removal of Kejriwal as the national convener.
“Talks failed. Prashant and Yogendra adamant on Arvind’s removal from the chair of national convener,” Ashutosh tweeted.
In another tweet, he said, “Party is willing to accept all demands of Prashant/ Yogendra, not removal of Arvind. Why PB/YY are insistent on Arvind’s removal? I am amazed.”
In their letter, Yadav and Bhushan, who were already removed from party’s powerful Political Affairs Committee, said they were told that Kejriwal was not willing to be the national convener if they are part of the national executive.
“This is exactly what you had said when demanding our removal from PAC.”
The talks had begun with the aim of bridging the trust deficit between the two groups.
In the letter, Yadav and Bhushan said they never made any attempt to dislodge Kejriwal from convener’s position in the party and that they always extended whatever support they could give to him.
“We have been compelled to communicate to you through this open letter. It is ten days since the two of us asked you for an appointment on your return from Bangalore. But you have not yet managed to find the time slot for us,” Bhushan and Yadav said in the letter.
Ashutosh said Bhushan and Yadav had conveyed to the party leadership that they will resign from all posts if their five demands are met. He said though the party accepted all the demands, they did not quit.
Ashutosh also retweeted photograph of a letter dated March 17 claiming it to be written by Bhushan and Yadav. A number of Kejriwal loyalists claimed both the leaders in the letter said they would step down from the party posts if their demands were met.
“What is being passed off as ‘resignation letter’ is a note for internal negotiations. We said we will resign if 5 conditions were met,” Yadav said, rejecting reports that he and Bhushan had stepped down from the national executive.
The Political Affairs Committee met at Kejriwal’s residence and discussed the internal strife in the party.
Sources said Kejriwal loyalists have opposed giving any concession to Yadav and Bhushan.
In the letter, Bhushan and Yadav said they had offered to resign, provided the party declares that state organization will take final call regarding participation in local body elections and order probe into allegations of wrongdoing against party by the Lokpal with immediate effect.
They said they had also demanded appointment of Lokayukta in all states having AAP organization and adherence to RTI as per the CIC orders.
“Interlocutors from your side repeatedly made an offer to Yogendra that he can be given a ‘free-hand’ in Haryana, that those who have obstructed his work will be removed from the state.
“We refused to engage with this offer, for any negotiation on post, position and responsibilities at the cost of the questions of internal democracy would amount to unprincipled deal-making,” the letter said.
Expressing surprise over the way they were being treated, the two leaders questioned, “What have we done Arvindbhai to deserve this personal animosity? No matter what lies your friends spread in the media, deep within you know the truth.
We’ve never asked you for any post, position or favor.
“We’ve never made any attempt to dislodge you from your position in the party. If anything we have extended whatever support we could at crucial moments.,” it said.