New Delhi: Reeling under electoral debacle, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday appeared split down the middle with senior leader Yogendra Yadav attacking Arvind Kejriwal while the party initiated moves to bring back Shazia Ilmi who had quit criticising the “coterie" around Kejriwal.

The party leadership came under attack at a meeting of the national executive, attended by party leaders from across the country, to discuss the future course of action after its rout.

Rift in the party’s top leadership emerged after exchange of letters between Yadav and Manish Sisodia.

Yadav, known to be a key strategist, had written to the political affairs committee (PAC) after his resignation from it charging the party with “falling prey to personality cult" and that the decisions taken reflected the wishes of the party chief. He described Kejriwal as a supremo.

Interestingly, senior party leader and Kejriwal’s close aide Sisodia hit back at Yadav accusing him of targeting Kejriwal and making internal matters public.

“When you wanted to become Haryana in-charge and wanted to be projected as the CM candidate despite opposition from other PAC members, Arvind backed you. At that time, he was democratic (for you). The state of affairs of the party in Haryana is in a shambles," Sisodia said.

Yadav refused to comment on the letter.

“I don’t discuss party issues with the media and this is not the way I function,“ he told reporters on Friday. Kejriwal too declined to comment on the issue.

The party tried to downplay the incident saying writing letters to each other and have a difference of opinion was not a crime and it only reflected democracy in the party.

“The issue (of letters between Sisodia and Yadav) were not discussed. Party people can mail each other. This is a democratic process and have different opinions and this reflects internal democracy in the party. One can differ with each other," senior party leader and PAC member Sanjay Singh told reporters after the meeting, adding it would be “unfair" and “wrong" to hype the matter.

“There is no rift in the party. There are bound to be problems and those will be discussed to find a correct solution," party leader and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan told reporters after the meeting.

Sources pointed out that the letters exchanged between Yadav and Sisodia were not discussed in the meeting. However, it is likely to come up for discussion on Saturday.

There were indications that the PAC might be expanded to accomodate more members. Singh also said the party has come to a decision that the resignations tendered by AAP leaders like Yadav, Naveen Jaihind and Ilmi would not be accepted.

Singh also indicated the party would convince Ilmi to rejoin the outfit and may assign AAP leader from Maharashtra Anjali Damania to persuade Ilmi back into the party-fold.

“We would all like Shazia Ilmi to join the party again," he said.

Another PAC member Gopal Rai said the party will discuss the future course of action after the three-day meeting ends on Sunday and make necessary changes in the organisational structure. PTI

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