Days after the “loyalty” of Kumar Vishwas was questioned, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attending an Iftar party hosted by Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan — who had accused Vishwas of being a ‘BJP agent’ and was then suspended — has raised eyebrows within the party. Kejriwal, while speaking at the event held at the Ansari Auditorium at Jamia Millia Islamia University, steered clear of controversies and prayed “for the well-being of all” and for the “destruction” of “communal forces that have raised their heads in the country”. “They say that if you ask for something during this holy month, you get it. Today, I pray to Allah for your health, for your family’s well-being and peace for all. I pray that the communal forces that are once again raising their heads in the country end; and that once again, there is love and peace between communities,” he said.
The party, meanwhile, clarified that the Iftar was hosted by Khan “not privately, but by him as the chairman of the Vidhan Sabha Committee of Minority Welfare”.
However, as one leader explained, “There are many within the party who feel that the scale of the Iftar, the appointment of Khan as the chairman of the committee days after action was initiated against him, make things very clear.”
Controversies had begun soon after the MCD elections, when Vishwas spoke in favour of “introspection” — at a time when the party was raking up the issue of faulty EVMs. Khan had then accused him of being a BJP agent, prompting Vishwas to tender his resignation. Soon after, Kejriwal and the party’s leadership had swung into action to retain Vishwas in the party. Khan was suspended from the party, but soon after, he was appointed the chairman of a panel of the Delhi Assembly — he was made the chairman of the Committee for Minority Welfare and the Special Inquiry Committee of the House.
“Khan’s importance in the party has not gone down. He is a politically significant member of the AAP. Especially now, when the party is under duress. His criticism of Vishwas was against the party line, but there are many who think it is justified,” said a party source.
The challenge, an AAP leader said, was to control damage. “The reality is that Punjab, Goa and MCD results were a setback, and now we are regrouping, ensuring that the morale doesn’t fall. At this time, open factionalism is a problem. We have always been a party that welcomed diverse views. No matter how different the views of Vishwas and Khan are, they are both integral to the party.”