The morning after the Aam Aadmi Party expelled four leaders for anti-party activities turned out to be acrimonious with Ashish Khetan attacking Prashant Bhushan for the allegations made in his reply to the show-cause notice.
Prashant Bhushan had raised concerns about the conduct of party’s disciplinary committee members Khetan and Pankaj Gupta, accusing the former of writing a story for Essar while he was a journalist for Tehelka. While Bhushan had asked if the story was not a form of paid news, Khetan lashed out at the Bhushan family, accusing them of “making an industry of PILs”, and even saying that he would not “spare” Prashant.Khetan demanded that the Bhushan father and son should quit public life if they could not prove he was dishonest. “I am not going to spare the Bhushan family. Either they prove their honesty or my dishonesty. Those who take government land everywhere, capture houses…how can they call others corrupt. How did Bhushans build their empire…by making an industry of PILs,” Khetan told reporters.
“This time they have attacked an Aam Aadmi. They have targeted me. I will not spare them. I had come to this city 15 years ago with just Rs 6,500. Whatever I have is because of my hard work. I neither own a property nor have enough bank balance. The Bhushan family has over Rs 500 crore worth property. I want to know whether this has been earned through PILs,” Khetan said.Responding to the charges, Shanti Bhushan said there was nobody that “could question either his or Prashant Bhushan’s integrity” and that Khetan would himself be exposed in the process.
Speaking to reporters, AAP leader Ashutosh said that there would be no inquiry into allegations against Khetan and that the party backed him to the fullest. Later on Tuesday, however, Khetan seemed to climb down on television channels and said he had responded in anger and hurt, and said that he should not have used the words he did.
Meanwhile, the AAP also confirmed that they had replaced Dharamvir Gandhi with Bhagwant Mann as the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi has publicly backed Yadav and Bhushan.
Yadav wants politics with a party, for now
The four expelled leaders are pushing ahead with their plan of a Swaraj Abhiyan throughout the country. Yogendra Yadav said an itinerary for Swaraj Samvad interactions across India is being drawn up, with the first such meetings after the one in Delhi on April 14, to be held in Bangalore and then in Guwahati.
Yadav said that under Swaraj Aabhiyan, the idea was “not merely to somehow to attract one slice of Aam Aadmi Party volunteers and turn that into a movement or a political force”. He said while the Abhiyan was “political”, it was not looking to become a political party presently. “There are three conditions that the movement must meet – substantial energy from across the country, a model of organisation, and creating a new agenda for India.