Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal managed to keep the party together on Wednesday by striking a compromise with dissident leader Kumar Vishwas. The political affairs committee (PAC) of AAP, in an urgent meeting, decided to make Vishwas the party in-charge for Rajasthan, which will face assembly elections in 2018. It also suspended MLA Amanatullah Khan, who had spoken publicly against Vishwas, and had called him a BJP-RSS agent who was trying to split the party.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia visited Amanatullah’s residence to personally convey the party’s decision to suspend him.
The party has also formed a committee to recommend action over comments made by Amanatullah against Vishwas. “Amanatullah Khan, who accused Kumar Vishwas of being a BJP agent, has been removed from the party,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told reporters after the PAC meeting. “The committee will have Ashutosh, Pankaj Gupta and Atishi Marlena as members,” Sisodia said without giving details of the committee’s mandate.
Sources, however, said that while the party seems to have doused rumours of Vishwas’ exit for now, it is yet to address several issues that followed its electoral debacle. There has also been no clarification on the party line on EVMs, which had sparked the current crisis.
Vishwas thanked all volunteers and party members, who “stood by him in the time of crisis”. He also assured volunteers that the party will not shy away from course correction whenever required. “Every time we need course correction, we will do it. Party needed to discuss some issues and that is happening,” he said.
He also said that the turbulence over last two days was not about him alone. “I have already said I don’t want to become CM, deputy CM or convener of any party,” he said.
The bargain comes a day after Delhi chief minister and AAP founder Arvind Kejriwal made desperate attempts to keep the party together. After saying that Vishwas was his younger brother but a little angry, Kejriwal dashed to his house late on Tuesday night after which Kejriwal, Vishwas and other leaders moved to the CM’s residence in north Delhi for a meeting.
All Vishwas said on Tuesday was that he would “take a decision tonight”.
After the municipal poll results in Delhi on April 26, Vishwas had said in an interview to India Today TV that EVMs alone could not be held responsible for AAP’s loss in the election.
A day later on April 29, Okhla MLA Amanatullah described Vishwas as an “RSS agent” and accused him of conspiring to take control of the party, led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.