Aam Aadmi Party stood firmly behind Arvind Kejriwal this evening as its national executive decided to expel Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, prominent founder leaders, from the political affairs committee, the highest decision making body of the young party.
Yadav has also been removed from the position of the party spokesperson.
The two leaders had in recent weeks emerged as the visible faces of a faction in the party that became openly critical of the party's functioning, alleging that it was moving away from its founding principles of transparency and swaraj, or decentralized decision-making. In letters that found their way to the media, the two leaders had criticised the party becoming a "one-man party", a reference to Kejriwal's monopoly over decision making.
Bhushan and Yadav were in favour of allowing state units to decide whether they should fight assembly elections, while in recent months Kejriwal had publicly stated he was opposed to it for at least five years.
The rift among the top leadership, which blew up just weeks after it swept Delhi elections, had plunged the young party, formed in 2012, into deep crisis.
"The national executive has unanimously decided to expel me and Yogendra Yadav from the PAC. I just hope that the party doesn't stray from its founding principles and doesn't disappoint the millions who have reposed their faith in it," Bhushan told HuffPost India shortly after the reportedly stormy meeting.
He had raised the issue of the party straying from founding principles in his joint letter with Yadav to the party, which was leaked to the media.
Arvind Kejriwal did not attend the meeting. But Kejriwal's resignation as the national convenor for AAP, offered on Wednesday afternoon, was rejected.
Yadav said on television that he would continue as a "disciplined worker."
Kejriwal had offered to resign at a meeting on Feb. 26, but party spokespersons then said his offer was unanimously rejected. Ahead of the meeting today, the internal crisis deepened when Kejriwal offered his resignation as the national convenor of AAP. The chief minister had reportedly written a letter to AAP's National Executive committee about being overburdened with work and very busy.
Before the meeting, Yadav said he would "not split or quit" the party.
ना तोड़ेंगे, ना छोड़ेंगे
सुधरेंगे और सुधारेंगे।— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 4, 2015
PTI reported that Kejriwal, who is suffering from diabetes, will soon leave for Bengaluru for naturopathy treatment for a period of 10 days.
"Hectic schedule, hard work and stress for past several months have taken serious toll on his health. His sugar level is high for the past few days and doctors have advised him medical leave," Sanjay Singh, AAP national spokesperson, said on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, Kejriwal said that he refuses to be drawn into the bickering within his party.
I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that Delhi posed in us(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 3, 2015
I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle.Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance.जनता के भरोसे को किसी भी हालत में टूटने नहीं दूंगा(2/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 3, 2015