The Weekend Leader - Tempers cool ahead of AAP meet, AK to fly to Bengaluru

Tempers cool ahead of AAP meet, AK to fly to Bengaluru

New Delhi


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said he was "deeply hurt and pained" by the open warfare within the AAP as the party braced for a make-or-break leadership meeting Wednesday.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which scored a spectacular electoral win early last month, also announced that Kejriwal was going away to Bengaluru Wednesday for 10 days of naturopathy treatment for his persistent high sugar levels.

"I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that (the people of) Delhi reposed in us," Kejriwal tweeted, adding he won't allow "people's trust to be broken".

"I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle. Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance," he added.

Less than a month after it stormed to power winning 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi, the AAP is split between senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on the one hand and Kejriwal backers on the other.

Kejriwal's comments appeared to indicate that he was distancing himself from his known supporters in the party who have threatened to act "tough" against Bhushan and Yadav for allegedly challenging Kejriwal's leadership.

Bhushan, an eminent Supreme Court lawyer, and Kejriwal were among those who founded the AAP in 2012 -- and quickly made a mark in Delhi and nationally.

Accompanying Kejriwal's comments, no AAP leader reiterated on Tuesday any of the aggressive statements against Bhushan and Yadav.

On Wednesday, the AAP's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) will meet here to discuss the party's internal strife.

Kejriwal supporters are gunning for both Bhushan and Yadav, particularly the latter. But after Kejriwal's comments and other saner voices, it is not clear what turn the meeting will take Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Prashant Bhushan's father Shanti Bhushan, also a leading lawyer, on Tuesday urged his son, Yadav as well as Kejriwal to "stick together".

"Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav must stick together," he told the media.

"Kejriwal should continue as all-India convenor. Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav must support him.

"That's the best for the party, and such a stand will achieve the goals for which the party was set up. There should be no rift," said Shanti Bhushan, who himself has made critical comments against Kejriwal earlier.

Yadav, a well known election analyst and who has come under intense attack from Kejriwal loyalists, on Tuesday said that he and Prashant Bhushan desired "internal democracy" in the AAP.

"I and Prashant Bhushan had raised voice for internal democracy in the party. There is nothing wrong in that.

"I will see if action happens against me," Yadav added.

In what was viewed as a veiled attack on Kejriwal, Bhushan and Yadav have been quoted as questioning the party's "one person-centric" approach -- in internal communications leaked to the media.

Unlike Yadav, Bhushan on Tuesday refused to speak to the media on what he said were the party's internal affairs -- a stand he has maintained for weeks.

Yadav is being accused by a section of the AAP of trying to oust Kejriwal as its national convenor. AAP leaders appealing for peace deny this.

Amid the unprecedented crisis, AAP leaders had said Monday that when the national executive meets here on Wednesday, they would act "tough" against those challenging the Delhi chief minister.

Meanwhile, the AAP said on Tuesday that Kejriwal would fly to Bengaluru to take 10 days of naturopathy treatment for high sugar levels.

"His (Kejriwal) sugar level is above 300. So he has decided to opt for naturopathy... The treatment will start (Thursday)," an AAP official said.

In Kejriwal's absence, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will officiate as chief minister. Kejriwal, who became chief minister of Delhi a second time last month, has been a long-time diabetic.

Officials in Bengaluru said Kejriwal will reach the city Wednesday evening and will be admitted to the Jindal Naturecure Institute on the outskirts of the city.

The institute, spread over 10 acres of lush greenery, provides relief, prevention and cure of specific diseases through a non-invasive, drugless therapy which combines nature cure with yoga and other drugless regiments, its web site says.

The AAP, born from the anti-corruption campaign of activist Anna Hazare, was founded in 2012 and came to power in Delhi after the very first election it contested in December 2013, albeit with Congress backing.

Kejriwal quit as chief minister on February 14, 2014, leading to President's Rule in Delhi. He took oath exactly a year later after leading the AAP to a thumping victory. - IANS

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