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AAP posters: ‘How have we come to this?’

While the two factions inside fought it out tooth and nail, equally heated debates and arguments broke out in the crowd as well.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Published: March 29, 2015 1:48:39 am
aam aadmi party, arvind kejriwal, prashant bhushan, yogendra yadav AAP volunteers outside the venue in Kapashera on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Calista Resorts, on old National Highway-8, was anything but serene and calm on Saturday. The acrimony and chaos inside the resort in Kapashera, where the AAP’s National Council (NC) meeting was being held, found an echo in the crowd outside.

While the two factions inside fought it out tooth and nail, equally heated debates and arguments broke out in the crowd as well.

Supporters of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were in the majority, but those backing Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were loud and spirited.

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Posters spoke by themselves. Many of them said, “Arvind, we stand with you”. Some others said, “Stand United”. But there was one point on which all were in agreement — It had gone too far. “How have we come to this,” they asked.

AAP supporters had been asking these questions for a while, but on Saturday, they got louder. “Kejriwal is my leader and I will back him no matter what. But all these leaders were together just a month ago when we swept Delhi. Look at them now,” Ram Kishan Agarwal, a Kejriwal supporter, said.

And look they did. They watched as even before the council meeting began at 10.30 am, their leaders played out a grotesque parody, most moments filled with irony. Just three months ago, Yadav was heard on TV defending Kejriwal. On Saturday, as Kejriwal alighted from his car, Yadav stood a short distance away. Not a look was exchanged or a word spoken. He walked straight inside.

After 10 minutes, Yadav sat down in the middle of a barricaded area, with five others around him, in protest against legitimate national council members not being allowed in.

Those in support of Yadav intensified their chants. This found an immediate retaliation from the Kejriwal-backers. After the meeting, Kejriwal left, with the windows of his car rolled up, shutting out the media and the crowd outside. Ten minutes later, Yadav and Bhushan came out. Instantly, everyone seemed to know what had happened. They chanted, “Gaddaron ko nikal diya”(We have removed the traitors).

The two leaders stood outside the gate, eyeing an agitated crowd. Police swarmed them, while the media urged them to come closer. Soon, they narrated stories of “bouncers” and “hooliganism”, amidst hordes of Kejriwal backers crying “Jhoot, Jhoot”(Lies, lies). Many participated in the cacophony, while others wondered, “How have we come to this?”

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