New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal dispatched his deputy Manish Sisodia on Monday evening to placate Kumar Vishwas, a senior leader of their Aam Aadmi Party, who is upset at being accused of plotting a coup to replace Mr Kejriwal as party chief. The mission was successful. Mr Vishwas was reportedly assured that action will be taken against Amanatullah Khan, the Delhi legislator who made the allegations against him.
- Manish Sisodia mediates with Kumar Vishwas who's upset over rumours
- Amanatullah Khan had alleged Mr Vishwas is planning a party takeover bid
- Over 35 AAP MLAs wrote to Mr Kejriwal demanding action against Mr Khan
Mr Khan, sources said, is set to lose his place in the party's team of top decision makers called the Political Affairs Committee or PAC, which will meet today at 9 pm. He will be penalised, they said, for going public with his allegations rather than talking to the party. He will also be asked to prove them, failing which he could be suspended from the party, sources said.
Mr Vishwas will attend the meeting.
Mr Kejriwal, who had earlier in the day gagged party leaders warning them against warring publicly, drove to Mr Sisodia's residence for a two-hour meeting today before sending him to Mr Vishwas' Delhi home along with another top party leader Sanjay Singh, seen as the leader of the anti-Kumar Vishwas faction.
On Sunday, Mr Khan had sent out WhatsApp messages alleging that Kumar Vishwas has met party ministers and lawmakers in a takeover bid. He said Mr Vishwas' plan B is to quit AAP and join the BJP, taking with him a number of the party's legislators in Delhi.
More than 35 AAP legislators from Delhi and Punjab have written to Mr Kejriwal demanding action against Mr Khan. They said Mr Khan's allegations do not just malign Mr Vishwas, a founder member of the party, but also damage AAP.
Mr Khan is known to be close to Sanjay Singh and other leaders like Dilip Pandey and Brijesh Pathak, who took the fall for the party's defeat in the civic polls and have resigned. Kumar Vishwas' supporters see in Mr Khan's accusations an attempt to stall any move to assign him an important position in the party. Mr Vishwas has so far only had charge of AAP's overseas initiatives.
The allegations came after Mr Vishwas told NDTV on the weekend that deep structural changes "that could go right to the top" will be made in the Aam Aadmi Party after its humiliating defeat in the Delhi civic polls last month. He said Mr Kejriwal is surrounded by "yes men" and had on their advice, blamed electronic voting machines or EVMs for the defeat.
"Kumar is my younger brother. Some people are trying to drive a wedge between us. They are enemies of the party. They should refrain. No one can separate us," Mr Kejriwal had tweeted on Sunday. Mr Vishwas, 46, has made no comments; he only retweeted Mr Kejriwal.
Mr Vishwas has periodically been accused of planning to quit AAP and join the BJP ever since he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few years ago. His party has always joined him in quelling the rumours, the last in January this year.
Two years ago, Mr Kejriwal had led the Aam AAdmi Party to a sweep of the Delhi assembly elections, with the party winning 67 of 70 seats. The BJP had won the other three. Since then, two lawmakers have quit AAP and joined the BJP, which also snatched the Rajouri Garden seat last month in a by-election.
There are fears that after the party's successive defeats in assembly elections in Punjab and Goa and then the Delhi civic polls, more disillusioned lawmakers may abandon the Aam Aadmi Party.