Ahead of a crucial AAP National Council (NC) meeting next Saturday, one of the many sub-plots that is playing out in the party’s internal fight is the identity of who will chair the meeting. While a section of the party is pitching for someone other than Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, supporters of Kejriwal point to a clear clause in the party’s constitution that declares the Delhi CM as the chair for the NC meeting.
The party’s senior leadership has been in the middle of a bitter fight over the removal of senior leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
Under Article 7 of the AAP constitution — which covers “Rules of Conduct for Business” — point A(i) states, “The respective Convenor shall chair meetings of the national/state/district/block/primary Council/Executive. In the event of the Convenor not being available, the concerned body may elect a person to chair the particular meeting.”
However, a section within the party has begun to raise the pitch for someone other than Kejriwal. One of the names being suggested is that of party Lokpal Admiral Ramdas. Posters have appeared on Twitter which call for a “neutral chair” with Ramdas’s photo juxtaposed next to it. Sources also said that messages attempting to rally support for Ramdas have been doing the rounds.
Sources close to Kejriwal, however, pointed at other factors that would disqualify Ramdas from acting as chair for the Council. “By definition of what the Lokpal is, Admiral Ramdas is not a member of the party’s NC. The PAC or the National Executive has to decide if an external invitee will be called in, and it is clear that this will not happen. Kejriwal is clearly the man qualified to be chair of the NC. For a change in the constitution, there needs to a two-thirds majority,” a leader said.
Last week, the AAP had released a press note which said that the party held Admiral Ramdas in “high esteem”, but had stopped short of denying that he could be removed as the Lokpal.
Privately, many Delhi leaders have expressed unhappiness at Ramdas’s role in the Yadav-Bhushan controversy and his seeming ‘tilt’ towards the leaders. Ramdas was unavailable for comments.