Kejriwal accused of 'horse-trading'; AAP's Mumbai face Damania quits

Kejriwal accused of 'horse-trading'; AAP's Mumbai face Damania quits

Besieged by infighting, the AAP was today hit by twin blows with a former party MLA accusing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of trying to poach six Congress MLAs to form government last year following which its prominent Mumbai face Anjali Damania quit the party.

AAP's former MLA Rajesh Garg also alleged that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was in touch with the Congress MLAs to try to lure them to float another political party and extend support to AAP from outside as Kejriwal was not ready to face the assembly polls.

As Garg levelled the allegations, an audio tape of purported conversation between Kejriwal and the former legislator from Rohini surfaced in which the AAP leader was heard talking about splitting the Congress.

"We are ready to form the government, but Congress is not ready to support us. Manish (Sisodia) is in touch with the Congress. Do one thing, split the Congress and ask their six MLAs to float a new party and support us," Kejriwal was purportedly heard saying in a telephonic conversation with Garg.

Congress had eight MLAs in the previous assembly and to escape anti-defection law, six MLAs would have required to form a breakaway group.

"Congress won't support us. We have been trying for the last one and a half months. These six Congress MLAs would have supported BJP, but three of them are Muslims. They won't support the BJP. Those six MLAs should support us," Kejriwal was heard telling Garg in the audio clip.

Immediately after the controversy broke, senior party leader from Mumbai Damania quit the party saying she has backed the AAP chief for "principles" and not "horse-trading".

Announcing her resignation on the twitter, Damania said, "I quit...I have not come into AAP for this nonsense. I believed him...I backed Arvind for principles not horse- trading."
"I demand inquiry in 48 hrs into all these allegations. Vols (volunteers) have given their sweat & blood. It is not for the party...It is for the country," she said in another tweet.

The new controversy hit the party at a time when it was grappling with dissent by two senior leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav who have openly criticised Kejriwal for his style of functioning.

Meanwhile, MLAs supporting Kejriwal has demanded that the father-son duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan be expelled along with Yadav from AAP for anti-party activities and have started a signature campaign for the ouster of these three leaders.

Responding to the allegations of "anti-party activities" levelled against them, Yadav and Bhushan today issued a joint letter where they refuted charges of attempting to remove Kejriwal from the post of national convener.

"In National Executive meeting held on February 26, when we came to know that Arvind Kejriwal has offered his resignation from the post of national convener, we both vehemently opposed this," the letter said.

The statement also rubbished charges that Yadav had planted stories in media. "If I briefed them something, then why other journalists did not write their pieces?," the letter questions.
The signature campaign against Bhushan and Yadav was being undertaken by Karawal Nagar AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, who said he has so far got a positive "response" from fellow party MLAs.

"I will give this petition, with the support of our MLAs, to Arvindji (Kejriwal) once he comes back. I have spoken to all our MLAs and they have agreed to sign the petition," said Mishra, who also called for "exemplary action" against those found to be involved in anti-party activities.

Incidentally, the petition is also a replica of the charges levelled by four top AAP leaders yesterday.

"These people (Bhushans and Yadav), tried to sabotage the party's prospects by asking volunteers not to come to Delhi for campaigning and also stopping the funds of the party," charged Mishra.

Responding to Damania's decision to quit, the party's Delhi convener Ashutosh said that the party had no official information on the same and it would be "would be naive on our part to respond to that".

Later, party's Maharashtra unit leader Preeti Sharma Menon met Damania and said the latter had taken the decision as she was very "upset" .

"I’m sure she will give national leadership a chance to come and tell us what exactly is going on. She was very upset by the audio she heard, we have asked AAP to investigate," she said.

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