The Aam Aadmi Party's Ashish Khetan has said that a phone conversation purportedly between its chief Arvind Kejriwal and a former legislator on how to get the support of six Congress MLAs is about "political realignment" and not "horse-trading."
Mr Kejriwal's AAP, born out of an anti-corruption movement, is known to conduct sting operations to back its allegations against political rivals and others and the party chief has often, publicly, encouraged people to use it as a tool to expose wrongdoing.
This once, he is at the receiving end; his former party colleague Rajesh Garg claims to have recorded a phone conversation he had with Mr Kejriwal in August 2014, months before the Delhi assembly was dissolved and fresh elections were announced.
In the audio recording made public yesterday, a man who Mr Rajesh Garg alleges is Mr Kejriwal, suggests that an attempt be made to get six of the Congress' eight legislators then to break away, form a party and support an AAP government.
A senior AAP leader Anjali Damania announced her resignation on Twitter citing the sting, "I quit.. I have not come into Aap for this nonsense. I believed him.. I backed Arvind for principles not Horse-trading."
AAP's Ashish Khetan said, "Even if we were to construe that the recording is genuine, horse-trading is a very strong term. We did not trade seats... political realignments are a reality and we need to accept that," he said.
"The recording is completely authentic. I gave this recording to (AAP leader) Kumar Vishwas only. I am surprised how this CD reached every channel," Mr Garg has insisted.
In last month's elections, the Aam Aadmi Party registered a landslide victory, winning 67 of Delhi's 70 seats. The BJP won three, the Congress won none.
But weeks after the win, AAP has been plunged into an internal crisis, with Mr Kejriwal's supporters seeking the ouster of founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who they accuse of attempting to unseat Mr Kejriwal as party chief and of having tried to ensure that AAP lost the Delhi elections.
Arvind Kejriwal is in Bengaluru on a 10-day break at a health farm for naturopathy treatment for diabetes. He returns to Delhi next Sunday.