Edited Excerpts From An Interview:
What is the root cause of AAP’s present crisis: Is it personality-centric or is it a clash of ideology?
It is the result of Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav’s personality clash with Arvind (Kejriwal). They are proclaiming ‘idealism’. Where was this idealism when they were plotting the party’s defeat in the Delhi election? Prashant and Yogendra together did barely 25-30 sabhas (meetings). On the other hand, even a leader like me managed to address over 130 sabhas.
Can you describe the anti-party activity carried out by them?
They blackmailed AAP during the Delhi Assembly election. On several occasions, Prashant Bhushan threatened to organise press conferences to malign the party’s image. Bhushan’s sister Shalini Gupta called several NRI volunteers and asked them not to donate to the party saying that “Delhi chunav to hum harne wale hain (We are going to lose the Delhi election).” The Bhushans (Prashant and his father Shanti Bhushan) wanted to hijack the party. Yogendra Yadav also helped AVAM. Ye party ke andar reh kar BJP ko support kar rahe the (While remaining in the AAP, they were helping the BJP.)
Isn’t the action against Bhushan and Yadav an example of Arvind Kejriwal’s dictatorship?
If it were a one-man show, then the AAP’s National Executive would not have gone for a vote. Yadav and Bhushan were removed from the PAC by 11 to eight votes. Even in those eight votes that went in their favour, two came from the duo themselves.
What made you remove them from the party?
Two months before the Delhi Assembly election, Shanti Bhushan called Ashish Khetan and asked him to join him. Dilli mein BJP ki sarkar layenge, Arvind vipaksh ka neta banega aur convenership apne haanth mein le lenge (We will bring a BJP Government in Delhi. Arvind will become the Leader of Opposition and we will take the party convenership from him.)
Is there any proof to substantiate these allegations?
I myself have been witness to all these activities during three months of campaigning in Delhi. Also, during the National Executive meeting, which I arranged at Sanam (Sangrur), Shanti Bhushan made an anti-party statement (referring to HS Phoolka’s letter.) Yadav wanted the AAP to contest the Haryana Assembly election but the party thought otherwise. His personal issues with Arvind were possible reasons behind his actions in Punjab during the parliamentary election.
If that was the case, why was no disciplinary action taken against Bhushan and Yadav before the Delhi election?
Dilli mein chunav the ji. Unke paon pakad-pakad kar manaate the ki media ko kuch nahi bolna (Delhi was election bound. We pleaded with them not to say anything to the media) Now that we are done with the Delhi election, they should be sacked from the party. What is the guarantee that they won’t repeat these activities again in the future?
Will the Delhi model work in Punjab?
Yes, definitely. We are working on ‘Mission Star’ for the Punjab election. We are planning to replicate the Delhi model of campaigning in Punjab. The face for the Punjab election will be decided by the party. Chunav Arvind ke netrutva mein hi lada jayega (We will contest the Punjab election under Arvind’s leadership.)
The way you and other senior AAP leaders are making statements against Bhushan and Yadav, isn’t it making conditions hostile for them?
Unko to pata hi hoga na sach kya hai. Naitikta ke adhar par wo khud hi party chhod dein (They are aware of the truth. They should quit the party on moral grounds). The party has given them ample opportunity. Instead of damaging the party from within like termites, they should quit on their own.