A day after the party removed senior leaders Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha from the National Executive, the AAP on Sunday released a 45-minute video of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s impassioned speech against the rebel faction. In the speech, Kejriwal says “he was betrayed” and “knifed in the back”, and ends with an appeal to the council to choose between them and him.
Supporters of Yadav and Bhushan, however, alleged the video was clearly edited with “cuts in the recording visible to the naked eye”, in an attempt to mask the “hooliganism” that went on during his speech.
The video which was released was posted on micro-blogging site Twitter:
In his address to the National Council, Kejriwal said the AAP had lost gains made in the Delhi elections because of the infighting. “I have been thinking that in all that has happened in the past month-and-a-half, who benefited? Did Kejriwal strengthen? Did Prashant Bhushan strengthen?… It is the BJP and the Congress that have strengthened.”
Kejriwal said instead of paying attention to the progress that had been made in the past month, it was the infighting that had caught the attention of newspapers and the electronic media.
Kejriwal said he used to have utmost faith in Bhushan and even went to jail at “one ishaara by Bhushan” in court, referring to the time he spent in Tihar for failure to furnish a bail bond in a defamation case.
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He made many allegations, including that Yadav had given interviews against him “full of poison” and that Bhushan prevented people from donating and working towards Delhi’s win in politics. “We were trying to win the elections, others were bent on defeating us… yes, we have come to win elections, not lose them, but we will do it with honesty,” Kejriwal said.
Towards the end of the speech, Kejriwal even threatens to resign, narrating a story based on King Solomon. He said he would walk away but not destroy the party.
The faction backing Yadav and Bhushan, however, said the video – uploaded by AAP’s official social networking platforms – had been edited to show only one part of the story and hide the “misbehaviour” meted out to dissenters.
Rajeev Godara, a spokesperson of the Haryana state unit and National Council member, said, “Near the 13-minute mark, Kejriwal said he did not want this to be shown live because it was an in-house matter and he was talking to his family. This has been edited out. The hooliganism and manhandling of NC members… all that is missing.
At one point, the video shows Sanjay Singh asking people to refrain from dhakka-mukki with the visuals quickly moving on. There was a fracas for at least five minutes, which has been made five seconds. If they have nothing to hide, why edit it at all? The biggest proof is that they allege Ramazan Choudhary, who was assaulted, was only asked to keep quiet when Kejriwal was speaking because he heckled him. That is entirely missing from the video,” Godara said.
AAP spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said, “The video has only been uploaded because volunteers wanted to hear what the National Convenor had to say. Since yesterday, many have been making wild allegations and we do not want to dignify these with a response.”