AAP expels ‘rebels’, split on the cards

Rajat Kain

prashant_yogendraAam Aadmi Party has formally expelled its four prominent leaders from the primary membership of the party. Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, who had been labelled as the dissenters by the dominant Kejriwal-led faction, were expelled by the party late on Monday night.

In a late night press release, the party declared, “The Committee reached the unanimous conclusion that Mr Yogendra Yadav, Mr Prashant Bhushan and Mr Anand Kumar had indulged in gross indiscipline and anti-party activities. Also, Mr Jha had failed to furnish a response within the stipulated time. The committee was of “unanimous view” that he was also guilty of gross indiscipline and anti-party activities”.

Aam Aadmi Party’s step came the same day Prashant Bhushan had sent a long reply to the show cause notice served by his party on Bhushan along with Yadav, Kumar and Jha holding ‘Swaraj Samvad’ meet. According to the party’s official line, the meet was seen as an anti-party activity.

Reacting to the late night step taken by their party, both Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav accused the party of run by a “dictator”.

“AAP is now run by a Khaap (panchayat). All dreams of a movement have been shattered by a small coterie and a dictator,” Prashant Bhushan said this morning.

“At least now the nautanki (drama) is over. I feel deep regret, but no question of personal loss,” he added.

Speaking to the press at his residence in East Delhi, Yogendra Yadav said “I was first angry. Why in the middle of the night? Then I just felt sad.”

Earlier last month four leaders along with few others were removed from all frontal organisation of the party after an acrimonious National Council meeting in the capital. The four were charged with anti-party activities by the ruling Kejriwal faction.

The stand-off between warring factions of Aam Aadmi Party was therefore, only expected to rise after Prashant Bhushan replied to the show cause on Monday. Bhushan also made his long letter public soon after he replied with his own litany of charges.

“Ever since the illegal and unconstitutional meeting of the National Council, it appears that a number of ad hoc announcements have been made…All of these purported decisions taken since the NC meeting are illegal since the constitution of the NE itself has been illegal since the NC meeting,” Prashant Bhushan wrote.

‘Swaraj Samvad’ meet which was pitched as the brainstorming session of those party workers who were unhappy with the ways party has been functioning, was not received well by the strong Kejriwal-run faction. Bhushan-Yadav faction claimed that the party lost its way, especially on the issues such as internal democracy, funding, arbitrary decision making and party revolving around personality cult of Kejriwal.

Bhushan also made allegations against Pankaj Gupta and Ashish Khetan, the members heading newly reconstituted disciplinary committee of the party.

“You also know that there have been serious charges against you yourself…These included the acceptance of ‘donations’ of Rs. 2 Crores from shell companies, without taking the approval of the PAC as required by the party’s rules,” Bhushan wrote alleging Gupta of wrongdoing.

And in his attack on Ashish Khetan, who is considered close to Kejriwal, he had said “In his article titled, ‘The Madness in CBI’s method’ which appeared in the Tehelka issue of December 31, 2011, Khetan had sought to defend Essar”.