Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Anand Kumar’s replies to the Aam Aadmi Party’s show-cause notice were given before 3 pm on Monday. Even as the fourth leader among the dissidents, Ajit Jha. failed to file his reply, within hours none of it seemed to matter.
For close to a month and a half, an acrimonious public saga has played out in the Aam Aadmi Party, between leaders that once seemed inseparable. Late on Monday night, via a statement released to the media, the inevitable was announced with Bhushan, Yadav, Kumar and Jha being expelled from the AAP.
Many in the party believe that the infighting the party has seen over the past few months have taken focus away from the work of Kejriwal’s Delhi Government and other party activities. In light of this, party sources close to Kejriwal said, the reason that the decision to expel them was taken now was keeping in mind the agitation against the Land Acquisition Bill they have planned on April 22 at Jantar Mantar.
“Their replies were gone through and found unsatisfactory. There is no time for long replies. The decision was taken quickly because the party wants to concentrate on the rally for farmers on Wednesday, which is the largest national event that has been organised since the Lok Sabha election,” a senior leader said.
But even if Monday saw the endgame, the end had begun much earlier, with the first rumblings of disagreement surfacing around the Lok Sabha elections.
Those in the Kejriwal faction charged Yogendra Yadav with pushing the eventually calamitous idea of contesting national elections on over 400 seats, which gave them a return of a mere four seats. This is a charge Yadav has since denied, suggesting that the decision was collective.
Those in the Kejriwal camp have also alleged that Yadav, and Prashant Bhushan’s father Shanti Bhushan, actively campaigned to usurp Kejriwal’s position as National Convenor of the party. Yadav, Bhushan and others that back them have denied this charge, and have said that they were only pointing out institutional problems in the party, and not acting against Kejriwal.
Those in the Kejriwal camp have alleged that Prashant Bhushan, another founding member of the party, then attempted to derail the party’s bid in the Delhi elections in February, by actively asking volunteers not to donate time and money. Bhushan on the other hand, like Yadav, said that Kejriwal and “his coterie” had forgotten the principles that the party was built on.
While the party held its tenuous peace till the emphatic results of the Delhi elections, things came to a head at a National Executive meeting on February 26, where there was vehement disagreement among leaders, with Kejriwal who did not attend the meeting, even offering his resignation as National Convenor. This set off a chaotic run of events, replete with angry accusations and sting operations. There was then, for a while, a truce with Yadav and Bhushan loyalists, Ajit Jha and Anand Kumar representing them in negotiations. Those, however, failed.