6:11 pm - Thursday November 5, 2015

Kejriwal offers to quit as party convenor; AAP national executive to take call on Bhushan, Yadav

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has offered to resign as national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party ahead of a crucial meeting of party office bearers on Wednesday, TV reports said.

Kejriwal reportedly said he was overburdened by the two posts and was hence resigning from the party post to concentrate on the governance of Delhi, NDTV reported

Kejriwal had offered to resign last week too — in line with the party’s ‘one-post’ policy in which a leader can’t hold more than one post — but the offer was turned down by the party’s national executive.

Kejriwal’s offer to quit comes hours ahead of a crucial meeting of the 21-member national executive in which the party is expected to act against dissenting AAP leaders Prasanth Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav for allegedly planning to remove Kejriwal as convenor.

Sources said Bhushan and Yadav are likely to recuse themselves as part of a face-saver formula worked out with the Kejriwal camp. Bhushan and Yadav figure in both the national executive and the nine-member political affairs committee and are taking part in Wednesday’s meeting.

“We will neither break the party nor leave it. We will only improve and cleanse the party,” Yadav told reporters just ahead of the meeting.

Kejriwal will not attend the meeting as he is leaving for Bengaluru for treatment for cough and high sugar levels. “I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that Delhi reposed in us,” the Delhi CM tweeted on Tuesday, adding, “I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle,”

The NE was meant to be the real executive body and the PAC was to operate and take quick calls between two NE meetings. But, as Yadav earlier pointed out, the PAC has become all powerful, and fewer and fewer NE meets are taking place, limiting decision-making only to a few people.

Kejriwal is said to be not comfortable with the presence of Bhushan and Yadav in the PAC and wants more freedom. Whether or not AAP should expand nationally is one of the bones of contention.

Kejriwal had tendered his resignation as the AAP national convener in the previous national executive meeting held last week, but it was unanimously rejected. He had also skipped that meeting.

If Bhushan and Yadav opt out of the PAC, they would still remain part of the NE but for all practical reasons they would no longer participate in decision making. If the two choose to quit AAP, it will be a jolt to the two-year-old outfit, which made electoral history in Delhi only a month ago sweeping 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

The deep factionalism in the party surfaced after letters from one camp questioned Kejriwal’s style of functioning and the absence of an internal ethics committee.

The hatchet may or may nor be buried at the NE meeting, the disquiet bubbling underneath in the party’s rank and may remain.

“The sticking point is expanding the party’s national footprint, but Kejriwal is not completely convinced with the idea. Yadav and Prashant and some others are in favour of an expansion. This difference will not resolve on its own. Moreover, those who swear by the party’s constitution would not give up the issue of transparency very easily,” an AAP leader said.

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