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AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. File photo: HT
AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. File photo: HT

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan resigns after party’s PAC meeting

Delhi MLA Amanatullah Khan had alleged Kumar Vishwas had tried to overthrow Arvind Kejriwal and take control of AAP, causing a rift in the party

New Delhi: A day after accusing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas of “plotting a coup" in the party, AAP MLA from Okhla Amanatullah Khan on Monday resigned from the party’s political affair committee (PAC).

The AAP PAC, the highest decision-making body of the party, met late night on Monday to discuss the issue at hand. Vishwas, who is a member of the PAC, skipped the meeting.

Speaking to reporters after the PAC meeting, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the party leadership was upset with Khan and Vishwas for airing their differences in public. He said the PAC has accepted Khan’s resignation.

“Arvindji (Arvind Kejriwal) is upset with both Kumar and Amanatullah. PAC also discussed Vishwas’s absence from the meeting. Even he (Vishwas) has been giving interviews and releasing video. The party is also unhappy with this," said Sisodia. “If anyone has grievances, they can raise them with the party leadership."

Sisodia said such developments were denting AAP’s image and affecting the morale of volunteers, while “warning the party leaders not to air their grievances in public, but at appropriate party fora".

Khan, however, remained defiant over his comments against Vishwas.

“Kumar Vishwas is an RSS-BJP agent and Arvindji will soon realize it. He (Vishwas) talks about disconnect between party volunteers and leadership, but he had invited (former Delhi commissioner) B.S. Bassi and (national security adviser) Ajit Doval for his birthday party. It was Bassi, who had arrested AAP MLAs and workers under false pretext," Khan said.

Earlier in the day, AAP leaders in Delhi and Punjab wrote to Kejriwal, asking him to expel Khan from the party. This came after Khan alleged that senior leader Kumar Vishwas had tried to overthrow Kejriwal and take control of the party. After the AAP loss in Delhi municipal elections, while the party and Kejriwal had blamed electronic voting machines (EVMs), Vishwas had said AAP needs to introspect.

In separate letters, the leaders said Khan made the comments to malign Vishwas’s image and create a wedge in the party.

Imran Hussain, Delhi minister for environment and food, tweeted, “Amanatullah has lost his mental balance."

Vishwas is one of the founding members of the party and was associated with the India Against Corruption movement, where the AAP has its roots.

“If he (Khan) has proof, then he should present it to the political affairs committee (PAC). The charges that he has levelled are serious and if he fails to produce any evidence to back them up, then he should be expelled from the party," the party’s Chandni Chowk legislator Alka Lamba said.

Trying to quell rumours of a rift and warning leaders against creating a divide, Kejriwal had tweeted on Sunday, “Kumar is my younger brother. Some people are trying to create a rift between us. Such people are enemies of the party. They better mend their ways. No one can separate us."

The AAP which has lost a series of elections in Delhi, Punjab and Goa, has raised concerns over the use of possibly faulty EVMs.

The rumours of the AAP rift came as other senior leaders from Punjab, including MP Bhagwant Mann and Punjab unit chief Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi, criticized the party for blaming EVMs for the loss in Delhi municipal elections.

Mann said AAP had committed a “historic blunder" with their electoral strategy in Punjab, where the party won 20 seats in the 117-member assembly in state elections earlier this year.

In Delhi municipal elections, AAP managed to win only 48 out of the 272 seats across three municipal corporations while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won in over 180 seats.

PTI contributed to the story.

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