The Telegraph
Sunday , June 8 , 2014
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Arvind overtures to Yogendra, Shazia

New Delhi, June 7: Arvind Kejriwal today termed Yogendra Yadav a “v dear friend” and made placatory noises at Shazia Ilmi, attempting damage control as open bickering at the top threatens to rip the Aam Aadmi Party apart.

Ilmi, the party’s public face, quit after last month’s poll rout alleging lack of “internal democracy”. Party ideologue Yadav has been accused publicly, by senior leader Manish Sisodia, of maligning Kejriwal and giving him disastrous advice.

“Yog Yadav is a v dear friend v valued colleague. Had long discussion with himů Yog Yadav has raised some imp issues. All of us will work on it,” Kejriwal tweeted.

The tweet came while Kejriwal and other party leaders were in the middle of a national executive meeting to review the election drubbing and plan the road ahead.

“We will also try to get Shazia back,” he further tweeted. Party leaders said channels of communication had been opened with Ilmi and she could be back in the fold soon.

Both Yadav and Ilmi had been criticising Kejriwal, so the tweets seem to be an effort to mend fences and keep the party intact ahead of the crucial Delhi Assembly elections.

But the absence of Kumar Vishwas, a prominent party leader, from the meeting yesterday and today raised concern. Vishwas had contested against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi and lost his deposit.

“Running 103 degree fever. Throat infection, body ache and the media is making news out of my absence,” Vishwas tweeted.

But party insiders said that Vishwas too was unhappy with the leadership and could be the next to slam Kejriwal and his alleged coterie.

Yadav had in an email to party colleagues accused Kejriwal of building a “personality cult” and ignoring advice from others. Ilmi had accused Kejriwal of running the party according to his whims.

Sisodia, seen as Kejriwal’s closest lieutenant, hit back at Yadav in a letter leaked to the media, accusing him of wrongly advising the party chief to contest the Lok Sabha polls instead of focusing on Delhi.

Today, party leaders said they had decided to concentrate on Delhi — where the party’s stunning performance in last winter’s state polls had captured the nation’s imagination — and then slowly spread their wings in neighbouring states such as Haryana and Punjab.

At the meeting, the general opinion was that it had been a mistake to contest a large number of seats across the country in the general election.

The party today sought to make an issue out of the power cuts in sweltering Delhi, blaming the BJP since the state is under central rule.

Party lawmakers and volunteers have begun a door-to-door campaign seeking people’s opinion on how money from the MLAs’ development fund should be spent.