NEW DELHI — In the latest twist to the Aam Aadmi Party saga that is threatening to gravely disrupt the young party, national executive member Mayank Gandhi has revealed what he claims are the inside details of how Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were ousted out on Wednesday.
In a blog written on his personal website, Gandhi revealed in detail what had led to the March 4 meeting and how the two were asked to leave the AAP political affairs committee.
Addressing the letter to AAP volunteers, Gandhi first apologised that he was breaking the rule to reveal to outsiders what transpired in the Wednesday meeting of AAP's national executive.
"Generally, I am a disciplined soldier of the party," he wrote. He explained that his decision to reveal details was based off what he had learnt from Arvind Kejriwal himself.
Following my heart in this crucial time - my note to volunteers http://t.co/4numW3ZEgO
— Mayank Gandhi (AAP) (@mayankgandhi04) March 5, 2015
Gandhi described how Kejriwal would tell him that he never listened to Kapil Sibal's suggestion to hide details of meetings when they were at the Lokpal joint draft committee together in 2011. "Arvind used to answer that it was his primary duty to inform the nation about the proceedings, as he was not a leader but a representative of the people," according to Gandhi. "Truth and transparency was all that he had."
Claiming that his presence in the national executive was only as a representative of the volunteers, Gandhi said that he would be "dishonest to accept the gag order."
"The volunteers cannot be removed from the equation; they are the source of the party," he wrote in his blog post. "Rather than get information from selective leaks and stray statements, I have decided to give some factual details of the meeting in the public domain."
Gandhi said that he was told that disciplinary action would be taken against him if he revealed in it. He said that he accepted any such decision by the party, but that his "first allegiance is to the higher truth." Revealing details of the meeting, he also asked the national executive to release the minutes of the meeting.
He revealed how Prashant Bhushan had threatened on multiple occasions to hold a press conference against the party during the Delhi election campaign, as he was concerned with the candidates selected for the party.
"Some of us were successful in somehow or other to stave off the threat till the elections," he wrote. "It was alleged that Yogendra Yadav was conspiring against Arvind and some evidences were produced."
He also said that there were "operational irreconcilable differences and trust deficit" between Kejriwal, Bhushan and Yadav. He said that Kejriwal told members of the national executive on February 26, a couple of weeks after he was made Delhi chief minister, that he would not be able to work as national convenor if Yadav and Bhushan continued to be part of the PAC. Gandhi said that it was the background of the Wednesday meeting when the two were finally thrown out.
Wednesday's National Executive Meeting
According to Gandhi, Yadav said that he understood that Kejriwal did not want him in the PAC since it was "difficult to him to work together." Apparently, he even put forward two solutions.
He apparently suggested that a new PAC could be constituted where members could be elected via voting, and for which Bhushan and Yadav would not contest. The other was to let the PAC continue to function as it was, and the duo would not attend any of the meetings.
इस बार पुरे 5 साल केजरीवाल केजरीवाल!!! pic.twitter.com/4uLts06tgx
— Mayank Gandhi (AAP) (@mayankgandhi04) February 5, 2015
A break followed the suggestions, during which Manish Sisodia and some others spoke with the Delhi team that consists of Ashish Khetan, Asutosh, Dilip Pandey, among others. Gandhi said that after they reassembled, Sisodia proposed a resolution for Yadav and Bhushan's removal, which was seconded by AAP core committee member Sanjay Singh.
Why Gandhi Did Not Vote
Mayank Gandhi did not vote for this proposal, and in his blog he explained the reasons for this.
Gandhi said that since Kejriwal needed a smooth-functioning PAC, he agreed that Bhushan and Yadav should be out of the committee, and instead take some alternate but important roles. He said that he was however taken aback by the resolution of removing them so publicly, especially since they were willing to leave on their own.
"Also, this decision to sack them was against the overwhelming sentiments of volunteers from all over the world," wrote Gandhi.
"So, while I agreed that they can step down from the PAC, the manner and intention behind the resolution was not acceptable. Hence, the decision to abstain," he said.
Flood of messages of solidarity and outrage from party volunteers.
I appeal to all that we retain our faith in the idea of @AamAadmiParty
— Yogendra Yadav (@AapYogendra) March 5, 2015
Gandhi said that there were more details that could come out if the minutes of the meeting were released.
He signed off saying that his decision to reveal inside details was not a revolt or a public ploy.
"I will not go to the press," he wrote. "There may be some repercussions overt and covert against me."
"So be it."