NEW DELHI — The turmoil in AAP deepened last nigh after reconciliation talks between Arvind Kejriwal's camp and the rivals failed amid speculation that dissenting founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan could be shown the door in the national council meeting on Saturday.
Bhushan and Yadav, in an open letter, accused Kejriwal of initiating the talks only to secure their resignation from the the national executive and alleged that he was not showing seriousness on any of the major issues raised by them.
Leaders close to Kejriwal said talks have failed as Bhushan and Yadav were adamant on removal of the Delhi Chief Minister from the post of party's national convenor while making it clear that there will be no further talks with the duo.
After a meeting of the AAP's Political Affairs Committee, Ashish Khetan, known to be a Kejriwal loyalist, said there will be no further talks with Bhushan and Yadav and that all the issues will be taken up at the national council meeting on Saturday.
Khetan said all the communications sent to the party leadership by Yadav and Bhushan will be presented before the national council after which a decision on their fate will be taken.
There was speculation that both Bhushan and Yadav could be removed at the meeting.
In the letter, Bhushan and Yadav said they had offered to resign, provided the party accepts a number of their demands to ensure greater transparency in the party. Tonight, the duo said they have not resigned from party's national executive.
In the letter, they said the message conveyed to them during reconciliation talks was that either they should resign gracefully or face removal from the national executive. They also accused those close to Kejriwal of spreading "lies" against them.
"Slowly it dawned upon us that the principle intent of these talks is to secure our resignation. The bottomline for interlocutors from your side was that the two of us must resign from the national executive. We were told that this is your personal insistence.
"We were told that you are not willing to be the national convenor as long as the two of us are members of national executive," Bhushan and Yadav said in the letter.
In the letter, Yadav and Bhushan, who were already removed from party's Political Affairs Committee, said they were told that Kejriwal was not willing to be the national convenor if they are part of the national executive.
"This is exactly what you had said when demanding our removal from PAC." .
AAP leader Ashutosh, known to be a Kejriwal loyalist, said talks have failed as Bhushan and Yadav were adamant on removal of Kejriwal as the national convenor.
Talks failed. Prashant and Yogendra adamant on Arvind's removal from the chair of national convenor.— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 26, 2015
Party is willing at accept all demands of Prashant/Yogendra,not removal of Arvind. Why PB/YY are insistent on Arvind's removal?I am amazed— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 26, 2015
The talks had begun last week with the aim of bridging the trust deficit between the two groups.
In the letter, Yadav and Bhushan said they never made any attempt to dislodge Kejriwal from convenor's position in the party and that they always extended whatever support they could give to him.
"We have been compelled to communicate to you through this open letter. It is ten days since the two of us asked you for an appointment on your return from Bangalore. But you have not yet managed to find the time slot for us," they said.
Addressing a press conference, Yadav said he and Bhushan were ready to resign if five of their demands including ordering probe into all the recent allegations of irregularities by party's Lokpal and allowing the party to public scrutiny under provisions of RTI.
Bhushan said Kejriwal has lot of good qualities but his fondness to control decision making can be dangerous for the party. They said it was necessary that PAC and National Executive be expanded.
"Interlocutors from your side repeatedly made an offer to Yogendra that he can be given a 'free-hand' in Haryana, that those who have obstructed his work will be removed from the state.
"We refused to engage with this offer, for any negotiation on post, position and responsibilities at the cost of the questions of internal democracy would amount to unprincipled deal-making," the letter said.
Expressing surprise over the way they were being treated, the two leaders questioned, "What have we done Arvindbhai to deserve this personal animosity? No matter what lies your friends spread in the media, deep within you know the truth.
We've never asked you for any post, position or favour.
"We've never made any attempt to dislodge you from your position in the party. If anything we have extended whatever support we could at crucial moments," it said.
Yadav also slammed the Kejriwal camp for claiming that he had asked to be made Haryana in-charge.
I hear funny news about the PAC accepting our resignation. Will my colleagues please produce a copy of the resignation letter?— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 26, 2015
Ridiculous claim that we insisted on AK's removal.
This wasn't mentioned in our note, never came up for discussion.
Can they give any proof?— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 26, 2015
Another lie that I asked for Haryana.
Actually they repeatedly offered Haryana.
We refused to even discuss it.— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 26, 2015
What is being passed off as "resignation letter" is a note for internal negotiations. We said we will resign if 5 conditions were met.— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 26, 2015
Sources in the Kejriwal camp said that a final proposal was given to Yadav and Bhushan today in which eight new members, acceptable to both the camps, were to be inducted in the national executive.
"But even that was rejected by Prashant Bhushan and he insisted on Arvind's resignation. Bhushan said that he had no faith in Kejriwal," said a party leader.
Later addressing a press conference, senior party leader Sanjay Singh said, "A compormise formula was prepared by (AAP's Bangalore leader) Prithvi Reddy and Ashish Khetan and even that was rejected by them."
Kumar Vishwas, another leader from Kejriwal camp, said that all the demands of Yadav and Bhushan, of which some were "quite impossible" were accepted.
"They said Yogendra Yadav should be made the Haryana convenor. We accepted that. They said, (party's leader from Haryana) Naveen Jaihind should be kept away from Haryana, we accepted it. He (Yadav) said that he should be made the leader of the farmers agitation, I told him that even we all will join you in the movement.
"Sanjay ji (Singh) also offered to resign and we said it is fine. But then in the last NE meeting, the whole contention of Prashantji and Yogendra (Yadav) bhai was to remove Arvind from the post of National Convenor.
"And the group is working on the same line. The party is not convinced that Arvind Kejriwal should be removed from the post and the National Council will take a call on this," he said.
Vishwas added that the National Council will take a call on leadership of Arvind Kejriwal.
Sources added that ahead of NC meeting on Saturday, a group of volunteers close to Yadav and Bhushan will hold a meeting to discuss the strategy.