Arvind Kejriwal's AAP decides to go national; warring factions inch towards rapprochement

A month after assuming power in the national capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced on Tuesday that it has decided to go national.


New Delhi: A month after assuming power in the national capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced on Tuesday that it has decided to go national.

Confirming the development, AAP leader Sanjay Singh told the media that the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) has decided to expand the party in other states, an issue over which senior leader Yogendra Yadav had earlier come under fire as he had favoured AAP spreading its wings in other states.

"After our spectacular victory in Delhi and seeing the love of the people, we have decided to expand at the national level," Singh said.

"The party will expand. We will work to strengthen our organisation in other states. A decision on which states party should contest elections in will be taken only after looking at political capacity and leadership in those states,” Singh said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the PAC, the party's top decision-making body, held at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Kaushambi residence.

Five of the PAC's seven members met at the residence of Kejriwal, who returned to the capital late on Monday after 12 days of naturopathy treatment in Bengaluru for his nagging cough and high blood sugar.

Battling infighting, the AAP Tuesday decided to take steps to douse the flames of dissent by reaching out to senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan besides expanding the party in other states, one of the contentious issues behind the rift.

Those who took part in the meeting included Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Delhi minister Gopal Rai, Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh. Ashish Khetan and Dilip Pandey also attended. Two PAC members were not in town.

Over the past few weeks, AAP has been embroiled in internal turmoil with leaders from both the camps making accusations and levelling allegations against each other.

Singh maintained that the crisis in the party would soon end, and party leaders would reach out to Prashant Bhushan, who, along with Yogendra Yadav, was ousted from the PAC this month.

"We have already started working to normalise the situation in the party. We have taken a step forward as we have already met Yadav," Singh told reporters after the two-hour-long meeting.

The efforts for rapprochement by both the sides picked momentum following Kejriwal's return here Monday night after 12 days of naturopathy treatment in Bengaluru for his chronic cough and diabetes.

Sanjay Singh, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan -- all known to be Kejriwal loyalists -- met Yadav late Monday night and held discussions on several contentious issues. Both the camps termed the discussions as "positive".

Kejriwal and Yadav also briefly interacted at a city court today where they were summoned in a defamation case.

Yesterday, Yadav and Bhushan had extended an olive branch to Kejriwal by seeking a meeting with him and the AAP chief today responded by saying that he will meet them "soon".

However, Bhushan snubbed Khetan by refusing to meet him and declined to meet anyone except Kejriwal to sort out their differences.

"He (Khetan) had asked for a meeting this morning but I responded saying meeting you would not serve any purpose and I would like to meet Arvind," Bhushan told PTI.

Bhushan added that Kejriwal told him he was busy until the Budget session next week and will meet him thereafter.

In the party's last National Executive on March 4, Yadav and Bhushan were voted out from the PAC over accusations of working against the party and trying to malign Kejriwal's image.  

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