Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, two senior leaders who have been accused of plotting anti-Arvind Kejriwal activities and ejected from the crucial posts in the Aam Aadmi Party, have called for a meeting of volunteers and supporters near Delhi on April 14.
The move is seen as a step toward launching a new platform for holding the party to higher standards, or even floating a new political party.
“The issues that the two of us have raised are not personal. We believe that these issues resonate with what a very large number of volunteers, supporters and well-wishers of AAP have or would like to have raised. Therefore your communication gives us strength,” Yadav said in messages sent as replies to his supporters.
“Both of us have received thousands of messages (SMS, phone calls, facebook messages and emails) from friends. Their support gives us the strength to keep going. Some of the friends who met over the last two days felt that there should be a dialogue with like minded friends on Ambedkar Jayanti, 14th of April 2015somewhere close to Delhi, regarding further course of action,” he said.
He added that the details will soon be available on social media and facebook. “We will try to webcast it,” he said.
Yadav, an activist and a noted psephologist and political scientist, and Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer famous for launching many anti-corruption legal battles, were ejected from the party’s National Council as a result of festering misunderstandings between them and party convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal gave an ultimatum to party members that if they were unwilling to fire the duo from leadership positions, he would step down. Kejriwal believes that the duo have been asking questions about the ways and means that the party used to win recent Delhi elections only to irritate and target him, and not out of any ideological commitment. He believes that the duo have ambitions of displacing him as the tallest leaders in the party.
“Is it a question of ideology and principles, or is it a question of personal ambitions,” he asked in the recent meeting in which he demanded that the duo be sacked.
Bhushan and Yadav have maintained that their questioning of matters such as distributing candidature tickets to unsavory local “political entrepreneurs” and increasing centralization in decision making within the party was motivated by their commitment to the founding principles of the party. The AAP was born out of a powerful anti-corruption agitation led by social activist Anna Hazare in 2011.
The party was seen as different from traditional parties, which have been associated with corruption and crookedness, and was expected to uphold higher standards.
In his message to volunteers, Yadav said: “These are difficult times and it is natural to feel dejected. It might appear that the quest for alternative politics not feasible. However, this is precisely a moment to resist such gloomy conclusions.
“The events of the last few weeks may have been disgusting, but the reaction of the volunteers and well wishers of the party have been very strong and encouraging. For the first time the country has paid some attention to issue of internal democracy within a party. That is not a small achievement, even if we do not have much to show as yet by way of a concrete outcome.
“We must therefore keep the spirit of the movement going at this difficult juncture. May I invite you to join this dialogue and carry forward the spirit of the movement.”