Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday made it clear to the National Council that it was either him or Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav who can stay in the party, following which the duo was expelled from the National Executive.
In his hour-long address to the National Council, Kejriwal slammed Bhushan and Yadav accusing them of trying to ensure AAP’s defeat in Delhi assembly polls.
The Delhi Chief Minister said he was pained over what was happening in the party and preferred to stay away from it.
“If the party decides, I will quit and relinquish all the posts. Now it is upto to you (National Council) to decide whether you want me or them,” a senior leader quoted Kejriwal as saying.
Kejriwal said when one group was working for the party’s victory another was “scheming for its defeat.”
“Two groups of AAP were working in the Delhi election. One was working for the party’s victory while other was working for the party’s defeat.
When the whole party was working towards victory in the polls, the other group was scheming for its defeat,” the party leader quoted Kejriwal.
The Delhi Chief Minister asked the NC to decide on his offer which was vehemently opposed by his supporters.
Immediately after his speech, Kejriwal left the National Council meeting and moments later senior leader Manish Sisodia moved a resolution to remove Bhushan and Yadav from the National Executive, which was passed by an overwhelming majority.
Kejriwal also said that he preferred to go to jail with just following instruction from Bhushan.
“I went to jail with just one instruction from Prashantji,” he said. The Delhi chief minister was referring to his going to jail after he refused to furnish personal bond in a defamation case last year.
Sources said it was Bhushan who had asked him not to furnish the personal bond.
Earlier, Kejriwal recounted AAP’s journey in the last one year, from the lows of quitting the government followed by its Lok Sabha debacle to the high of a historic victory in the Delhi Assembly polls.
“He traced the party’s journey from the last National Council meet to the current one,” a senior leader said.
But soon after that he mounted a sharp attack on the two dissident leaders and asked the members to “make a choice between him and them.”
This prompted Yadav and Bhushan to accuse him of “instigating” the members.
“He categorically pointed out that Prashant Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan and Yadav made every effort to defeat AAP in Delhi elections,” said another leader who was present in the meeting.
Addressing a press conference later, Yadav accused Kejriwal of standing as a “mute spectator” to the alleged incidents of assaults on a section of NC members by bouncers.
“He gave a dramatic speech for around one hour and it was full of allegations against us. He threatened to resign if we were not removed. He also accused Shanti Bhushan of anti-party activities without taking his name,” Yadav said.
Kejriwal returned to the NC meeting at around 4.15 PM. He had left the meeting citing official engagement.