War of words between Kejriwal camp, Bhushan-Yadav intensifies

War of words between Kejriwal camp, Bhushan-Yadav intensifies

A full-blown war erupted in AAP today with Arvind Kejriwal camp and dissident leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav mounting a shrill attack against each other ahead of tomorrow's crucial National Council meet that is likely to decide continuance of the duo besides some other key issues.

A day after reconciliation talks collapsed, Bhushan and Yadav accused Kejriwal of stifling internal democracy, and claimed that he even threatened to float a new regional party with all its MLAs as he "cannot work with us".

The Kejriwal camp strongly rebutted the allegations by the dissident duo and accused the two founding members of working to ensure party's defeat in the Delhi polls, saying they had links with AAP's breakaway faction AVAM which had alleged that the the party got "shady" funds of Rs 2 crore last year.

The war of words came a day ahead of the party's National Executive, which is expected to take call on continuance of the two dissident leaders. However, many party leaders feel that it will be difficult for the Kejriwal supporters to remove them given the support enjoyed by Yadav and provisions in the party constitution.

Hours after Bhushan and Yadav held a press conference in which they slammed the party chief, Kejriwal's loyalists Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Ashish Khaitan too addressed the media lauching a shrill counter-attack and claimed that the reconciliation talks were on track till 4 PM yesterday.

"The talks were on track. But suddenly something happened and they said they will no longer continue the negotiations. They must tell the country what happened," Khaitan said.

The three leaders from the Kejreiwal camp also produced a hand-written note which they claimed was written by Yadav apolosising for criticising Kejriwal.

Singh said the party had agreed on almost all demands made by the two leaders in a communication on March 17 in which Yadav and Bhushan had said they will resign if their demands were met.

The two leaders today said they will quit all "executive posts" if their five demands which included bringing the party under the ambit of the RTI Act, ordering probe by AAP's internal Lokpal into allegations of wrong doing and giving state units more autonomy, were met.

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 this evening 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 organisation 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 organisation 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 favour.

"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.

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