Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were ousted from the Aam Aadmi Party National Executive following a resolution passed at the party's National Council meeting on Saturday afternoon.
Kejriwal made a speech in which the Delhi chief minister said that he could no longer work with party members, who had attempted to sabotage AAP's chances in the Delhi elections. The resolution was backed by 247 members, according to AAP spokespersons, who said that 54 abstained and eight were against it.
After the meeting, Yadav and Bhushan said the meeting was pre-planned, undemocratic, and their supporters were roughed-up by bouncers. The two leaders said they did not get a chance to speak before the resolution was passed against them. "The whole thing was a complete farce. This is a mockery of democracy," Yadav said.
"What they did today crossed all limits. They literally kicked people out," said Bhushan, slamming Kejriwal for his "dictatorial tendencies."
The two leaders had asked the meeting today should be video-graphed and the voting be done by secret ballot. They also wanted the internal Lokpal, former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas, to chair the meeting. But AAP leader Ashutosh has countered that Ramdas is not a party member.
Admiral Ramdas is not a member of AAP, how can he attend the meeting of NC ? YY should reply ??— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 28, 2015
AAP founding members Ajit Rai and Anand Kumar have also been removed from the party's National Executive.
Speaking to Times Now, AAP's Ashish Khetan described allegations about bouncers assaulting party members as "ridiculous." Ashutosh said that Yadav and Bhushan were spreading lies in the media.
YY is spreading lies that NC members were beaten up in meeting.There was no scuffle or manhandling.It's a cooked up story to gain sympathy.— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 28, 2015
YY/PB Should respect the Verdict of the highest decision making body of the party if they believe in internal democracy .— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 28, 2015
Media should not buy a cooked up story of man handling and presence of bouncers. YY/PB Is spreading lies.— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) March 28, 2015
Prashant and Bhushan were booted out of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), earlier this month, after they publicly slammed Delhi's chief minister for violating AAP's founding principles of being democratic and transparent.
Instead of channeling energies into governing Delhi, AAP, which recently came to power with a stunning victory of 67 seats, has been wedged in squabbles, which only got worse in the past few days. Today's showdown is likely to further damage the image of the party. Social activist Medha Patkar resigned from the party on Sunday afternoon.
BJP spokesperson, Nalin Kohli, described it as "fight for power and opportunism." "Delhi will not progress on the basis of allegations and this kind of politics," he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that AAP should not lose the opportunity to govern Delhi. "This kind of politics in which ministers record each other was not expected," he said.
In a phone conversation, which was leaked on Friday evening, a voice that allegedly belongs to Kejriwal can be heard using abusive language against Yadav, Bhushan, and other AAP leaders Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha. He accuses them of attempting to sabotaging the party and ruining its chances of winning the Delhi elections.
AAP has not denied that it is Kejriwal's voice in the recorded conversation with AAP worker Umesh Singh. "They haven't stopped at anything to defeat us in the Delhi elections... If it was any other party they would have been physically kicked out of the party," the voice said in the recording. "I want to walk out of AAP and form my own party."
At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Bhushan reiterated that Kejriwal ran a one-man party, which had no room for those who disagreed with him. "I have told Arvind earlier that he has weaknesses that can destroy the Aam Aadmi Party," he said. "He doesn't want anyone who disagrees with him or tells him his way might be wrong. In fact, he claims to have never been at a place where people disagree with him."
Bhushan said that Kejriwal had allied the first AAP government in 2013 with the Congress Party despite objections from the national executive body.
They have also accused Kejriwal's aides of spreading lies about 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," they wrote in an open letter.