With the Aam Aadmi Party besieged by infighting over the past two weeks, all eyes are now on the party’s National Council meeting to be held on March 28. The council — a body of over 300 members, largely those who founded the AAP in 2012 — is the body which elects both the National Executive, and through it, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
Both these bodies have been at the centre of a storm with the National Executive deciding by an 11-8 vote to remove senior members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from the Political Affairs Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party.
A senior leader said the council would in all likelihood see another agitated debate on their removal. “The National Executive’s decision will be taken up at the council meeting and, with the very public acrimony, there is no doubt that this will be the main subject of discussion. The council can decide to elect a new National Executive and the PAC,” the leader said.
Sources also said that the sheer size of the council could be a factor that forces different factions in the party to air their versions of events in public domain. “If it were to come to the National Council deciding on the National Executive, or even ratifying the decision of the NE, it is harder to influence a group of 300 people, some of whom are not active members and watch proceedings from afar. Therefore, it is important to put out our side, if the other side is voicing their opinion and enhancing their case,” a senior leader said.
A leader also said that Kejriwal, and the Delhi unit which has backed him, have made it clear that no elections will be fought before the Punjab state polls, and if they are, only with a strong organisational base. “One group believes that elections are a way to build an organisation. The other thinks that building a strong organisation precedes an election.
It has been made clear that in their opinion, no election can be contested without a list of booth in charges for every booth. This again is likely to come up in the Council meeting,” a leader said.
Most sources Newsline spoke to on Monday, however, said that much hinges on whether Kejriwal himself will make an appearance at the National Council on March 28. “Much of the bickering that has happened is because Kejriwal has largely been silent. There can be a lot of dissent but there is very little argument that he is the mass leader and has delivered a 67-seat government. Institutional issues can and will be discussed, but if Kejriwal believes that something should happen, it most likely will. Whether or not others choose to comply or leave the party will then be left to them,” a leader said.