Battling an internal crisis, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was again at the receiving end of a sting operation in which he is heard purportedly using expletives against dissident leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan and even threatening to form a new party.
However, the Arvind Kejriwal camp hit back claiming that “private” conversations of leaders were being “recorded” for the past nine months to “blackmail” the leadership.
TV channels aired the conversation purportedly between Kejriwal and one Umesh Singh, a party worker, in which the AAP chief loses his cool and tells the worker to better go and work with Yadav and Bhushan.
“You don’t know how they (Yadav and Bhushan) were working against the party’s interests during the elections….I am not here to be part of any brawl. I am contemplating starting a new party…will leave AAP with 66 MLAs. Best wishes to you to work with Yadav and Bhushan.
Insinuating that the tape was the handiwork of dissident leaders Yadav and Bhushan, AAP leaders said that the taped the conversation was to be released at a press conference addressed by the duo earlier today.
“That did not happen and it was later leaked to the media,” party spokesperson Deepak Bajpai said. However, he refused to comment on the authenticity of the tape.
“They (the rival camp of Yadav-Bhushan) have been recording our conversations for the past nine months to blackmail the party leadership. We suspect that there are many such tapes and recordings of the private conversations.
“This also reveals that they had been hatching the conspiracy against the party leadership for quite some time now,” he added.
“When Prashantji (Bhushan) heard the tape for the first time, he was deeply hurt. We really have no words to explain the kind of words he’s (Kejriwal) heard using,” a leader said.
Yadav, in his response said “this is not at all an issue for me, I have no complaints…he’s my younger brother and has all the rights to say that.”
At one point of the taped conversation, Arvind Kejriwal is also heard hurling expletives at Yadav-Bhushan camp emissaries for the truce talks, Anand Kumar and Ranjit Jha.
“In the last four days, Anand Kumar and Ranjit Jha have stooped really low…we complied with all their demands like RTI. Then they said they were simply bargaining…we may not have the numbers but we do not have malice in our hearts,” he’s heard saying.
When Singh is heard requesting the AAP chief to keep the party united, Arvind Kejriwal retorts saying “they have tried hard to defeat AAP during Delhi elections. Had they been in another party, they would have been booted out.”