As the ruling Aam Aadmi Party sets stage for the National Council Meeting on Thursday, a sense of unease prevails in the party amid the widening rift between its convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas.
Both sides seem to be guessing what the other will do at the meeting, considered the second highest decision-making body of the party.
It was in this meeting in 2015 that Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan were removed from AAP’s national executive. The duo were expelled for “anti-party activities” after they questioned Kejriwal’s style of working. The expelled leaders had then alleged that they were heckled and booed in the national council meeting.
This year, for the first time since its inception in November 2012, founder-member Vishwas claimed that his name was not in the list of speakers. However, he may get to speak as state convenors of Aam Aadmi Party are allowed to speak. Kumar is the incharge of AAP's Rajasthan unit.
Kumar is expected to speak on Amanatullah Khan after the party inducted him back post his brief suspension from party's primary membership.
An AAP MLA, who did not wish to be named, said there would be a discussion on rising unemployment, demonetisation and agrarian crisis.
“Kumar bhai will attend the NC meeting as an ordinary volunteer,” said an aide of Vishwas.
Kejriwal’s supporters too had a guarded response and said the meeting will go as planned and that they were not expecting any problem.
But considering the widening rift between Vishwas and Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, both sides are learnt to have chalked out strategies to counter each other in the meeting that has witnessed acrimony in the past.
Vishwas has been at odds with the party ever since he questioned the leadership over a string of defeats, especially after poor performance in Punjab and Goa, the Rajouri Garden by-poll and the drubbing in the civic body election.
AAP’s Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, considered close to Kejriwal, had then accused Vishwas of being an “agent of the RSS”.
Vishwas had taken strong offence to the remark and sought action against Khan.
To placate Vishwas, who has considerable following within the AAP, Khan was suspended from the party but he was never out of the good books of the party leadership.
Even after his suspension, Khan was accommodated in the crucial panels of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and Kejriwal attended an iftar party organised by Khan.
On Monday, the party revoked Khan’s suspension, a decision that has further irked Vishwas.
Vishwas had then lashed out at the decision, suggesting that the party was merely trying to provoke him into reacting so that he could be thrown out in the guise of disciplinary action.
“But I will not let that happen. Amanatullah is merely a mask. Such masks are used to sideline people politically, which has been done before,” Vishwas had said.