'2 Camps Within Party,' Says AAP Ombudsman, Amid Reports of Sidelining Yogendra Yadav

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'2 Camps Within Party,' Says AAP Ombudsman, Amid Reports of Sidelining Yogendra Yadav

Arvind Kejriwal, flanked by AAP leaders including Yogendra Yadav (extreme left), addresses supporters during a rally in New Delhi on August 3, 2014. (Agence France-Presse photo)

New Delhi: 

Amid reports that Yogendra Yadav could soon be laid off by the AAP, an email from the party's internal Lokpal or ombudsman raises concerns about the internal bickering, growing mistrust and existence of two camps, highlighting the deep rift within.

Admiral L Ramdass, in an email accessed by NDTV, told members of the AAP's national executive as well as the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) - the party's top decision-making panel - how a "breakdown in communications and mutual trust amongst the topmost leadership, led to growth of two camps within the party."

The email has emerged after sources said that a group of 17 AAP leaders have authorised party chief Arvind Kejriwal to rejig the PAC in which Mr Yadav is a member. Sharp differences between Mr Kejriwal and Mr Yadav have been noticeable for months despite AAP's efforts to bury them.

The three-year-old party's fault-lines were exposed right after its disastrous debut in the national election in May, when leaders like Mr Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi charged Mr Kejriwal, who took over as Delhi Chief Minister earlier this month after the AAP's thunderous win in the assembly elections, with a dictatorial style of functioning. Ms Ilmi later quit the party and joined the BJP earlier this year.

In his email, Admiral L Ramdass notes how Mr Bhushan, one of the founder members of the AAP, was "unhappy with the candidate selection procedures and decision-making processes," and threatened to "resign from the party and go public," if the issues were not addressed.

The ombudsman also asks a question, suggesting how voices differ in the party over Mr Kejriwal's dual role as Chief Minister and the convenor of the Political Affairs Committee.

"Can the Chief Minister of a state and the National Convenor if he/she be the same person be in a position to discharge both the duties efficiently?  Do we need co-convenors?"

In the email, Admiral Ramdass also expressed disappointment over the composition of the Kejriwal cabinet - there is no woman minister in the AAP government.

"Find it difficult to defend AAP against accusations of being mainly a Boys Club especially when we were not able to have even one women in our team of Ministers!" he wrote in the email.

The party is yet to react to the email but Mr Yadav, while speaking to NDTV, dismissed all talk of a rift within the AAP.

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