As the fissures in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appeared to deepen, a letter written by senior party leader Yogendra Yadav to its Political Affairs Committee, giving reasons for his resignation, has caused a storm in the party.
In his letter, Yadav questioned the unbridled powers of party national convener Arvind Kejriwal and asked “whether there are limits to personal discretion of the leader”.
The contents of Yadav’s letter emerged even as the AAP’s National Executive met on Friday to discuss the problems the party was facing. Although he admitted there were organisational problems, senior AAP leader Prashant Bhushan said, “In any new party, there are bound to be organisational problems and other problems. The National Executive met today to discuss all these issues.”
In his letter, Yadav pointed to the widespread perception that the AAP, like other parties, was afflicted with “personality cult”. “There is no one who doubts that Arvind bhai is the undisputed leader within the party. He has richly earned this stature and we would not be where we are without his leadership. But there is a difference between a leader and a supremo.
Love and affection for a leader often turns into a personality cult that can damage an organisation and the leader himself. This is what appears to be happening to our party,” he wrote.
“Major decisions of the party appear to, and indeed do, reflect the wishes of one person; when he changes his mind, the party changes its course of action; proximity to the leader comes to substitute for organisational roles and responsibilities. Since all the decisions and successes are credited to one person, all the blame also begins to accumulate at the doors of one person,” Yadav wrote.
“Let me reiterate that Arvind bhai is no ordinary leader and there are no two opinions about his continuing as the national convener; nor have I ever doubted his status as first among equals within the party’s leadership. The real question is whether there are limits to personal discretion of the leader,” he wrote.
It was in response to this letter that senior party leader Manish Sisodia write to Yadav, questioning his behaviour over the past fortnight. On Friday, both leaders declined to comment on the exchange of the e-mails between them.
Eleborating on the decision to quit the PAC, Yadav wrote, “The heart of the matter is the decision-making process within our party. Our party