NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party today dropped two founder members, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, from its decision-making process as it battled the first major internal crisis in its three-year history.
Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan, who have repeatedly criticised party chief Arvind Kejriwal in the past few days, were voted out of AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) in a six-hour meeting that saw hard negotiations till late Wednesday evening. Mr Kejriwal skipped the meeting.
“I will work on whatever the party assigns me,” Mr Yadav told reporters later.
Mr Bhushan said, “All I can say is, I and Yogendra yadav won’t be members of the PAC for the time being.”
The party reportedly spent hours trying to get Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan to accept a face-saving exit and quit without a vote. Kumar Vishwas, who presided over the meeting, reportedly spoke to them in a separate room, but the two leaders resisted the offer to “resign gracefully” and even refused alternative posts, said sources.
Mr Kejriwal’s second-in-command Manish Sisodia reportedly moved the proposal to drop them. Of the 20 National Executive members who attended the meeting, 11 voted to remove the two dissenting leaders. Kumar Vishwas did not vote.
The party stood firmly behind Arvind Kejriwal – who took charge as Delhi’s Chief Minister last month after the party’s historic win – and rejected his offer to resign as party chief. He had said in a letter this morning that he was “overburdened with work” and would not be able to handle both jobs efficiently.
The 46-year-old will fly to Bengaluru tomorrow for 10-day treatment at a naturopathy farm. “I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party… I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle,” he had tweeted on Tuesday.
The intense bickering played out in several internal notes flying between two camps.