New Delhi: AAP founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who had challenged Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership, were on Saturday removed from the party’s powerful National Executive by an overwhelming majority at the National Council meet, a move slammed as “murder of democracy” by the duo.
Amid high drama, a resolution to remove the two dissident leaders was passed by around 230 of around 300 National Council members present in the meeting.
After making an emotional speech, party Chief Arvind Kejriwal left the venue before the resolution to remove the two leaders was introduced by Manish Sisodia.
“It was a murder of democracy. Everything played out in accordance with a predetermined script and the resolution was moved and passed within minutes completely disregarding laid down procedures. It was a total farce,” said a visibly agitated Yadav.
Yadav’s supporters Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha were also removed from the National Executive at the meeting.
Yadav alleged that a number of NC members opposed to the resolution suffered injuries as they were heckled by “bouncers” and “outside goons”.
Bhushan alleged that there was bogus voting in the meeting and Kejriwal came fully prepared to “kick us out” from the party.
“Whatever Kejriwal was heard saying in a sting yesterday was played out in the entirety in today’s meeting. There was no distinction between members and others. There was no discussion, no secret vote, no showing of votes in the meeting,” the eminent lawyer said.
Yadav said after Kejriwal left, party leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai was asked to chair the meeting and immediately after that Sisodia stood up and moved the resolution.
Bhushan took strong exception to the party leadership’s decision to not allow internal Lokpal Admiral L Ramdas to attend the meeting.
“The Lokpal was not allowed inside. It was totally pre-planned. What they did today crossed all limits. It shows the mentality of Arvind and his coterie,” he said.
Hours before the meeting, Yadav made public a letter, written by Ramdas to the party leadership, in which the former Navy Chief expressed surprise over the party asking him not to attend the meet to “avoid confrontation”.
In the letter, Ramdas cited the SMS he received from AAP General Secretary Pankaj Gupta, in which several reasons were stated by the party for its decision to ask him to skip the meeting.
Kejriwal loyalist Ashutosh accused Yadav of “spreading lies” that NC members were beaten up in meeting.
“YY (Yogendra Yadav) is spreading lies that NC members were beaten up in meeting. There was no scuffle or manhandling. It’s a cooked up story to gain sympathy,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, Ashutosh said, “Only a dozen members opposed proposal to expel them from NE (National Executive) and a few walked out of YY and PB (Prashant Bhushan). Overwhelming support to expel them from NE.”