The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) should reach out to ousted leaders, even if they have founded other outfits, and apologise if need be, senior leader Kumar Vishwas said on Sunday. Speaking at the sidelines of an interaction with party volunteers from across the city, Vishwas said, “There is a long list of people who have quit the party over the past few years, including Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. Why can’t we reconcile? We will say sorry if need be.”
Vishwas was among the few who spoke out against Yadav and Bhushan when they had raised issues against the leadership and claimed there was a “cult-based following” within the party.
However, the party denied claims of a reconciliation. “No discussion of this kind took place. No one has reached out to them, neither have they reached out to us. This could be Vishwas’ personal opinion,” AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh said. Reacting to claims that no other senior leader was at the party office on Sunday, Singh said, “Not everyone is in the office everyday. We knew about the interaction.”
On the three names that the AAP will nominate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in January, Vishwas said it was a decision that the party’s decision-making bodies — the National Council, National Executive and the Political Affairs Committee — should take.
Sources said Vishwas is miffed by AAP’s decision to nominate three “eminent personalities” for the seats. The three seats will fall vacant in late January when the three Congress nominees — Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Pervez Hashmi — will complete their terms. AAP will get to pick three nominees as they have 66 out of 70 MLAs in the Assembly.
Vishwas also said an ‘AAP 2.0 version’ has to be worked upon. “On November 26, I said that there is a lack of dialogue within the party and that we have strayed from our path. I proposed this meeting in the midst of the entire party leadership. The people who weakened the party have again become active after my announcement. They are running a smear campaign against me. If the party goes back to alternative politics that it began with, we can woo all those who supported us in the beginning,” he said.
“This does not mean that I want a new party. If Windows software gets an update, they don’t make a new Windows, they bring an anti-virus… This is the virus that turns the 5 lakh people who were at Ramlila Maidan when the party started into 5,000 at its fifth foundation day celebration,” Vishwas said.
Vishwas has been at loggerheads with the party leadership for several months now. Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan had accused Vishwas of trying to break away party MLAs, a charge denied by Vishwas. An enquiry committee was set up against Khan, which, absolved him later. On Sunday, however, Vishwas showered praise on the work the Delhi government was doing. “There is a severe anti-BJP mood on the streets that we have to understand, so that AAP can give seven MPs from Delhi next time,” he said.
“When I spoke about the party and our cause being bigger than any one person on November 26, Arvind (Kejriwal) acknowledged it. Why will he not want these things? He is not just my leader, but also my friend,” he said.