The rift within the AAP deepened on Tuesday with founder member Kumar Vishwas accusing senior leaders of conspiring against him and indicating his possible exit from the party.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, a childhood friend of the poet-politician, hit back, saying he should have used proper forum to raise his concerns.
“I know I will be targeted. The efforts to tarnish my image will be made. But let me tell those conpirators that I will not allow you to do so,” he said defying a party request not to rake up issues in the media.
He did not take any name but his target was clear.
Kumar Vishwas dubbed Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, who accused him of being a “BJP-RSS agent”, as a “mask” behind those ganging up against him.
Khan on Sunday alleged that Kumar Vishwas was conspiring to break the party and plotting a coup against party convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Pledging to keep highlighting what he said were the AAP’s mistakes, Kumar Vishwas said he would continue to speak in the interest of the country.
He denied he wanted to be the AAP Convenor. “I have already said 10 times and even to Arvind and Manish and the party that I don’t want to be the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister or the Convenor.”
He said he would not join any political party or Swaraj Andolan.
Kumar Vishwas broke down while speaking. “I had not joined the movement for this.”
Asked if he would quit the AAP, he responded: “I will decide tonight and will soon tell you.”
The AAP fielded Sisodia, a Kejriwal confidant, to counter the allegations. He slammed his former colleague for speaking publicly.
“Rather than making statements on TV channels, he should raise his concerns within the party forum. He should come and attend the PAC meet.”
Sisodia said Kumar Vishwas’ remarks were affecting the morale of party workers.
He said Kumar Vishwas was never asked to apologise for a video he released last month in which, among other things, he made oblique criticism of the AAP. “No one asked him to apologize. He made it personal.
“The party does not belong to Arvind, to me or to Kumar but it belongs to lakhs of workers in India and abroad,” Sisodia told reporters at Kejriwal’s residence.
Sisodia said he and party leader Sanjay Singh went to meet him. Still, Kumar Vishwas skipped an AAP leadership meeting on Monday. “Everyone knows who is benefitting” from his public remarks.”
Also on Tuesday, Kumar Vishwas said he had thought he had touched the right nerve by raising the issues of introspection within the party after its drubbing in Delhi’s municipal polls.
He also subtly attacked Kejriwal, accusing him of raising questions on the surgical strike by the Indian Army last year on terrorists in Pakistani territory.
“If we made mistakes and gave a ‘wrong message’ which lowered the morale of our soldiers, then we need a course correction,” he said.