AAP row: Bhushan, Yadav need Kejriwal more than he needs them
Soon after waging a war among themselves, the factions within the Aam Aadmi Party have hit the reconciliation button following Arvind Kejriwal’s return from Bangalore. He has already held two separate meetings with the leaders of the two factions besides directing both not to go public with intra-party matters. While some in the party question why he let the matter fester, some believe it has worked well for him as a tactical move. His authority over the party is fully established now. He can play peacemaker with ease.
It’s the Prashant Bhushan-Yogendra Yadav camp which began the reconciliation bid when on Monday Bhushan sent a text message to Kejriwal stating that he wanted to meet him to discuss the latest developments. In the evening Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan, leaders of the other faction, met Yogendra Yadav. This was the first such meeting after Bhushan and Yadav’s ouster from the party’s powerful political affairs committee. According to party sources, on Tuesday afternoon, leaders of both groups met again at Khetan’s residence.
Is the peace offer from the Bhushan-Yadav camp an indication that they are on a weaker ground? A senior party member said it is a fact that they need Kejriwal more than Kejriwal needs them. They may be credible faces of the party but the latter is the vote-puller. Without him they would lose whatever political weight they carry now.“Good sense must have prevailed on them and they might have realized that damaging Arvind Kejriwal’s image, which is the USP of AAP, won’t do any better to the party. What Narendra Modi is for the BJP and Rahul Gandhi for the Congress, so is Kejriwal for the AAP. Anyone who thought that Kejriwal would lose was clearly unaware of the realities. Not only has he emerged as the tallest leader in the party, his leadership and cadre support base have also ensured that none would mistrust him.
If Yogendra Yadav talks of expansion outside Delhi, any damage to Kejriwal’s image would invariably spoil that plan as well,” Sudesh Verma, former founding member of AAP and currently, president, Debating India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank told Firstpost.
“To call the crisis in the AAP a tussle for internal democracy is far from the truth. It is the ganging up of those who feel that time has come to cash in on their contribution and make the best use of the brand. They are the same set of people who were beneficiaries of the largesse by Kejriwal — they were not elected but handpicked and inducted by the national convener, making it a fait accompli for the National Council to ratify the composition of the national executive,” added Verma, author of Narendra Modi: The Game Changer.
The reconciliation bid is spurred by the volunteers of the party too. They are an important cog in the party’s working and the general mood among them is that the party should stay together. It reflects in the latest tweets of the leaders. Yadav has termed his meeting with members of the other group as “a good beginning of a dialogue and results are awaited”. On the other hand, AAP spokesperson Ashish Khetan has apologetically tweeted, “I shd not have commented about Bhushans in public. We’ve fought for many public causes together & will hopefully continue to work as a team (sic).”
Political sociologist Prof Manjit Singh of Punjab University added, “There’s a lot of pressure from all around – from AAP volunteers, NRI members, the media, intelligentsia to common man. It’s very difficult to fall apart and both sides now seem to be thinking on saving the ship. The collective will of the people should be honoured and both Kejriwal and Bhushan-Yadav duo should arrive at a mutual understanding for the long-term benefit of the party, as AAP ignited hopes amongst millions.”
The general will seems to be prevailing as the three – Kejriwal, Yadav and Bhushan – made a joint appearance in Karkardooma court on Tuesday afternoon in a defamation case where they refrained from making any public comment on each other.