New Delhi: Kumar Vishwas, 47, was at the centre of the plot to break the Aam Aadmi Party and pull down the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in the national capital, senior AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday evening to explain why the party had not named the popular Hindi poet for one of the three Rajya Sabha seats.
- Vishwas skipped for Rajya Sabha seat, said "punished for speaking truth"
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- Accuses him of plotting coup; Vishwas yet to respond
"Can such a person be sent to the Rajya Sabha? Will he be the voice of the party in the Rajya Sabha," the minister said, arguing that Kumar Vishwas would have use the Rajya Sabha seat as a platform to "finish off the party".
Mr Rai made the startling disclosure at a Facebook live session with party volunteers to explain why the party opted to field two unknown entities in the party including one imported from the Congress, and not popular Hindi poet Kumar Vishwas. It was an attempt to get volunteers to rally around the party at a time when not just the rival Congress and the BJP, but also AAP sympathisers were questioning the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's choice of candidates.
This isn't the first time that Kumar Vishwas has been accused of backstabbing the AAP leadership, particularly Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, 49.
In whispers, AAP leaders have pointed how the party's co-founder appeared to have been incentivised to move against Mr Kejriwal by the BJP.
The last person to go public with such accusations against Kumar Vishwas was the Okhla legislator, Amanatullah Khan. He had to be suspended to broker peace between Mr Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas that also earned the party's prominent crowd puller the charge of leading its campaign in Rajasthan. But it didn't go unnoticed that Mr Khan, who called Kumar Vishwas a traitor and plotting a coup, was quickly accommodated in Delhi assembly's panels.
The accusation that got him suspended in June, is now the official party line.
Mr Rai said they had noticed a pattern in Kumar Vishwas' non-stop public statements that appeared designed to damage the party. Like when the BJP was trying to buy their legislators this year, it was at Kumar Vishwas' residence that they would meet.
Kapil Mishra, who was sacked from the Delhi Cabinet this year, was a part of this group and this is why, Mr Rai confessed, he was dropped from Arvind Kejriwal's team.
Kumar Vishwas hasn't responded to Gopal Rai's charges, either on social media or in front of the cameras.
Nor has Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who hasn't even tweeted after the party announced its candidates for the three Rajya Sabha seats that the party would win, because it has 66 of the 70 seats in the assembly. But Mr Kejriwal has scrupulously retweeted posts by others including the one that described the choice of the three candidates as a "masterstroke".