Kumar Vishwas’s loyalty to the Aam Aadmi Party was questioned at the party’s national executive meeting last week. His “discussions on party tactics”, including open criticism of the party’s handling of Punjab and Goa elections, has ruffled the feathers of the party leadership, sources said.
While the party continues to officially maintain that Vishwas is an “integral part of the party” and that “there are no factions within”, some leaders differ. It all started after the MCD elections concluded in Delhi when Vishwas differed from the party line and spoke out in favour of “introspection”. AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan had accused Vishwas of being an agent of the BJP, prompting Vishwas to offer his resignation. Soon after, party chief Arvind Kejriwal and the top leadership swung into action to keep Vishwas in the party.
At the national executive meeting, sources confirmed that Vishwas’s “loyalty” to the party was once again questioned. However, an AAP leader said, “He might have different ideas, but that doesn’t mean that he is not an integral part of the party. Moreover, right now the party is trying to project itself as a stable one and also trying to regroup. No one is talking about Vishwas leaving.” The key issue, AAP leaders said, was that at a time when Kejriwal is holding meetings with volunteers, the party can’t afford any more controversies. Vishwas, however, isn’t helping this cause.
On Saturday, at a conference of AAP volunteers from Rajasthan, Vishwas gave a speech where he said that the “days of Delhi’s dominance were over” and that the party would be run according to the wishes of local volunteers. Vishwas further said that the party would raise its own funds, and that no central leader’s photograph would be used as campaign material.
While party leaders have spoken at internal meetings about some issues raised by Vishwas, a party source said, “To speak about it in the open and then put it up on social media is just bad politics. In Goa, for instance, we had taken a lot of volunteers from Delhi. But, they had no idea about the terrain. This is something that the AAP, as a new party, is learning. Does that mean we should hold a conference and tell everyone about it?” Vishwas was not available for a comment.