3:30 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

AAP MLAs fire letter salvo at dissidents Yadav and Bhushan, want Delhi CM Kejriwal to expel them

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Demanding the expulsion of dissidents Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, more than 50 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators have signed a letter that will be sent to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, a group of AAP leaders told HT.

The speaker and the deputy speaker of the Delhi assembly alongside Kejriwal’s seven-member cabinet are not part of this signature campaign. The AAP has 67 MLAs in the 70-member house. HT could not independently verify how many of them have signed the letter.

The new twist to the raging infighting in the rookie party surfaced on Wednesday, a day after four senior leaders issued a statement saying Prashant and Yadav wanted the AAP to lose in the Delhi assembly elections.

While Prashant threatened to expose the ‘truth’, Yadav accused the party leadership of putting pressure on the members to speak out against the two leaders.

The letter will be submitted to Kejriwal when he is back from Bengaluru where he is currently undergoing treatment.

Karawal Nagar MLA Kapil Mishra said, “We fought BJP and Congress (in Delhi). But we also had to fight an internal battle.”

Mishra, who takes charge as the new vice-chairman of Delhi Jal Board on Wednesday, said, “They (the dissident duo) tried to ensure our defeat in polls.”

“Inhone party ke saath gaddari ki (They have betrayed everybody). The party must expel these two to set an example. The message should go down the line. They tried to derail our campaign and ensure our defeat in the February 7 assembly elections.”

Amid a heated debate over of coercion, the party, meanwhile, distanced itself from the campaign. An AAP leader said, “It was purely an initiative of MLAs Kapil Mishra, Praveen Kumar (Jungpura) and Sanjeev Jha (Burari).”

Mishra said, “Prashant Bhushan stopped volunteers from coming to Delhi and campaign. We thought the atmosphere would improve after our victory. But they keep speaking against the party.”

The AAP statement issued Tuesday levelled allegations of conspiracy and triggering a rift against Prashant, his father Shanti Bhushan and Yadav, who was accused of planting negative stories in the media.

Prashant and Yadav were voted out of the party’s all-powerful political affairs committee last week after a stormy, marathon meeting of the national executive after they questioned what they described as “a one-person centric” campaign in Delhi, a veiled dig at Kejriwal.

Prashant said on Tuesday he would bring the whole truth before the public and was likely to present evidence proving that AAP had faulted on donation collection and candidate selection.

The party came to power in Delhi on the back of a crushing majority less than a month ago but has been struggling to paper over the cracks after a series of leaked letters revealed two camps — one supporting Kejriwal and the other comprising veterans like Yadav and Prashant who say the chief minister is dictatorial.

The party’s national council, a 30-member body, is also expected to discuss the slighting of Prashant and Yadav in its March 28 meeting.

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