New Delhi: As the Aam Aadmi Party gets embroiled in a fresh, and by far its most serious, bout of factional tussle, the chances of it imploding from internal dissension gets bigger. The party may yet manage to find peace but the flurry of allegations and counter allegations involving Yogendra Yadav, the party’s ideologue and only popular intellectual face, and Prashant Bhushan, the party’s conscience keeper, in public space may leave a lasting impact on the two-year old outfit.
With the letters of Yadav and Bhushan post the 26 February National Executive meet becoming public, social media is abuzz with conspiracy theories; and a slander campaign against the duo appears to be in full swing. There are rumours that these senior leaders may be on their way out from the top decision-making bodies and that the ‘other’ faction has taken over total control of the party.
Firstpost spoke to several sources in both the factions and tried to make sense of the allegations and rebuttals. Here they go:
Allegation: Post-Lok Sabha election 2014, when AAP and its convener Arvind Kejriwal had been facing severe criticism, Yogendra Yadav targeted him personally and resigned publicly.
The counter: Yadav’s resignation had nothing to do with Lok Sabha results. At no stage, formally or informally, did he or Prashant Bhushan blame Kejriwal for the poor show. In fact, the letter of resignation of the former did not even refer to the results.
Allegation: Instead of accepting the blame for his wrong vote share projections in Haryana and the rest of India, which misguided the party, Yadav sought to put the onus of failure on Kejriwal. He had told the party that in Haryana, AAP would get 23 percent of the votes but it got only 4 percent.
Counter: Yadav did not conduct any survey for the party. In fact, the party did not have money to conduct an all-India survey. He engaged the agency - Cicero on behalf of the party to conduct surveys in Haryana and UP in January-February 2014. In UP it showed that the party was nowhere in the reckoning. In Haryana, the survey was done before AAP resigned in Delhi and it showed the party’s vote share at 22 percent. This fact was confirmed by other independent polls at that time. The party’s fortune in Haryana took a nose-dive after the resignation in Delhi. All this survey data and analysis were shared in a meeting with all the Lok Sabha candidates on 5-6 July. Sources close to Yadav demanded that those making the allegation must produce proof to justify this allegation.
Allegation: It was the Prashan Bhushan-Yogendra Yadav-Shanti Bhushan trio that kept pressing the party to contest more number of Lok Sabha seats (400+). It led to the party’s humiliating defeat and loss of face.
Counter: Neither Yadav nor Prashant Bhushan did advocate contesting 400-plus seats. In the aftermath of the success in the Delhi assembly election, Yadav had submitted a strategy paper that advocated contesting about 100 seats (all seats in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, all seats in NCR and other metro areas and symbolic contests outside that). The suggestion about contesting nearly all the seats was made by Shanti Bhushan in the National Executive (NE) meeting conducted on 2-3 January, 2014. This was unanimously approved by the NE including by Kejriwal himself, who endorsed the suggestion in the meeting by saying “Let’s go for Broke”. Since the proceedings of this meeting were recorded, the supporters of Yadav and Bhushan asked, "will the party please release the recording to confirm facts about this matter in that meeting?"
Allegation: In 2014, Prashant Bhushan and Yadav reportedly supported AAP’s splinter group – AVAM (Aam Aadmi Volunteer Action Manch). Shanti Bhushan issued two videos in support of AVAM, which had locked horns with Kejriwal and the AAP’s Delhi unit. Later, during Delhi assembly election 2015, AVAM had levelled charges of money laundering against the AAP.
Counter: Both Bhushan and Yadav never joined Shanti Bhushan in supporting AVAM and there’s not an iota of truth in this. When, an AVAM leader contacted Yadav, the latter refused to join the cause and brought it to Kejriwal’s notice but Yadav refused to join their cause. On the other hand, Prashant Bhushan dealt with AVAM in his capacity as chairman of National Disciplinary Committee, since its leader Karan Singh had appealed to the National Disciplinary Committee against his expulsion.
“Yes, I had appealed to the National Disciplinary Committee, as the AAP had levelled false charges against me and no one was ready to hear us – the volunteers, who were shown the door. Not only that, the party also used forged SMS to malign us and used it as an excuse to expel me,” Karan Singh told Firstpost. Bhushan found critical evidence used to expel Karan Singh - a forged SMS and insisted that the party should track down the source of the said SMS.
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Updated Date: Mar 03, 2015 18:09:05 IST