Internal dissent in AAP results into the emergence of anti and pro Kejriwal groups in the city too.
After the Aam Aadmi Party’s thumping victory in Delhi people expected that it will bring about a major reform in politics and focus on better governance. However, AAP is no different from other parties like Congress, BJP, BSP and TMC which are leadership centric parties. AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav has been criticising Arvind Kejriwal’s style of functioning and wanted him to quit the national convenor’s post. According to sources, the internal rift within AAP has created a virtual split in the party with the emergence of two groups namely anti and pro Kejriwal group not only in Delhi but in Mumbai too. The existence of dual power centres is seriously affecting the image of AAP which was riding high after the Delhi election victory.
Prashant Bhushan was unhappy with the selection of candidates during the Delhi assembly elections. Bhushan is averse to following the high command culture and wants decentralisation of power in states. Prashant Bhushan admitted that there had been a breakdown in communication between him and party convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Yogendra Yadav has differences with the Kejriwal over the future growth strategy of the party. In a letter, written jointly with Prashant Bhushan, Yadav has said that there is a need to strengthen inner party democracy and the national executive meetings must be held on regular basis. Both leaders have been demanding adequate representation at the regional level. Many leaders have been criticising AAP for gender bias and also term it’s an anti-woman party.
According to AAP sources, 15 of the 21 members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the AAP, the highest decision making body want both Yadav and Bhushan out. The same sources claim that Kejriwal wants to concentrate on governance in Delhi and is not keen on expanding his party across India.
Kejriwal too had made his stand clear on this issue by making comments hinting towards Yadav and Bhushan. In an oath taking ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan Kejriwal said, “Some people are suggesting that we will now contest elections in other states, some are saying that we will now go to five other states. I think it is their ahankar.”
Thus cracks are clearly visible in AAP in the initial years of its formation. The party’s internal Lokpal Admiral L Ramdas, had pointed out in a letter subsequently leaked to the media that two camps were emerging within the top leadership and had asked AAP to reconsider the ‘one man, one post’ arrangement.
Then there are the personality clashes. Ashutosh Gupta, Ashish Khaitan, the AAP’s TV studio leaders and intellectuals, Sanjay Singh and some of the others in this faction want to control the party now. They are aware that Kejriwal will soon have to quit the national convenor’s post under the one-man-one-post principle.
When AV spoke to AAP state executive committee member Ravi Srivastava he denied about the existence of rift within the party. He said, “That’s absolutely not true about the AAP party unit functioning at Delhi. All this news is merely the creation of media as everything is fine. As far as the Maharashtra unit is concerned, there is absolutely no rift in the party. We have started a ‘Mission Vistaar’ on 4th December 2014 for focusing on the party’s expansion. I am part of the committee formed for this objective and it is working efficiently.”