Arvind Kejriwal meets Kumar Vishwas as AAP crisis deepens

NEW DELHI: As Aam Aadmi Party battled a major internal crisis with speculation that senior leader Kumar Vishwas was on the verge of quitting over allegations made by MLA Amanatullah Khan, party chief Arvind Kejriwal met the upset leader late on May 2 night in a last-ditch attempt at rapprochement.
“Kumar is upset, but I am sure we will convince him. He is an integral part of our movement,” Kejriwal said after emerging from the meeting.
Earlier in the day , Kumar Vishwas had defied Kejriwal’s direction not to make public remarks. In an emotional statement at an impromptu press conference outside his Ghaziabad house, he said that if Khan had made allegations against Kejriwal or Manish Sisodia, he would have been expelled from the party in no time. Vishwas also said he would be taking “a decision” on May 2 , setting off speculation that he was thinking of quitting the party. Earlier, Khan had alleged that Vishwas was acting at the behest of BJP and trying to grab the party’s national convener’s post. Khan was forced to resign from PAC on May 1 for the comments.
But reiterating his allegations, Khan had alleged that if Vishwas failed in his takeover bid, he planned to join BJP, taking with him several AAP legislators.
In a sign that Kejriwal was taking this act of defiance by Vishwas seriously, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said in an official statement that party volunteers understood who was benefitting from Vishwas’s statements on TV and what forces were gaining from these.
Kejriwal, who had described Vishwas as his brother after the latter had hit out at the party for citing EVMs as its reason for its string of defeats, seems to be in no mood to indulge him any longer. The AAP brass seems to be sending out a message that these public attacks must be seen as damaging the party and nothing else. Before Kejriwal called on him late at night, the party had sent Sisodia and Sanjay Singh to Vishwas’s house to attempt a patch-up.
Earlier in the evening, Vishwas had recalled that AAP began as a movement at his home with just three people -Kejriwal, Sisodia and himself. He said his credibility had been questioned and hinted that Khan was only a proxy for top leaders in the party who want to malign him. He said Khan was merely a “mask” for those who were hatching conspiracies against him. “Had Amanatullah Khan said anything like this against Arvind or Manish, he would have been shown the door in 10 minutes,” Vishwas said.
“I have conveyed this to Arvind and Manish and I reiterate it today that I don’t want to become chief minister, deputy chief minister or AAP’s national convener. I don’t want to join any political party or Swaraj India (political party founded by expelled AAP leader Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan). I am a volunteer,” Vishwas said, adding, “I request the leadership not to kick volunteers and party workers.”
Recalling his video message on nationalism -in which he had attacked Kejriwal too for being silent on corruption and trying to protect the corrupt -he said he felt no need to apologize. “It’s not just one MLA. I think someone else is behind it. After six continuous losses, our movement against corruption has been corrupted. Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia know that I don’t want to be CM, deputy CM or party chief.”
In his statement, Sisodia didn’t mince words. “We are hurt by Vishwas’ statements. No one had asked him to apologize,” he said. He said Vishwas was making it a personal issue now and he should have come to the PAC meeting to iron out differences.

- Advertisement -