Vishwas Rajya Sabha ticket hangs in the balance
NEW DELHI: Uncertainty looms large over the appointment of senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas as a member of Rajya Sabha, within the rift between him and the party coming to the fore at AAP's recent national convention.
Vishwas was not given an opportunity to speak at the convention, hinting at differences between AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Vishwas, who was significantly the third man after Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia behind the party's inception.
The tussle took the turn for the worse, after Vishwas went against one of the party's prominent Muslim faces and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan.
The party recently revoked Khan's suspension, who, after AAP s debacle in the Delhi civic elections, had accused Vishwas of being an agent of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and trying to split the party.
Reportedly, the top brass of AAP is apprehensive of Vishwas becoming unstoppable if he becomes a Rajya Sabha MP.
Speculation is rife that Vishwas has the tendency and power to become a singular face of the party in parliamentary politics, which might be different from the ideology of Kejriwal.
With its brute majority in the 67-member Delhi Legislative Assembly, AAP can send three people to the Upper House of Parliament. Vishwas sees himself as a strong contender for one of these seats.
On the other hand, a majority of AAP leaders were offended after Vishwas' scathing attack on the party leadership before the Delhi civic elections. Since AAP lost the polls, Vishwas has reportedly maintained a distance from Kejriwal, Sisodia and senior leader Gopal Rai.
Members of the Vishwas camp also said they were upset with Rai's appointment as chief campaigner in the recent elections and the Bawana by-election.
They had proposed making Vishwas the chief campaigner after the loss in the civic polls, but the top brass rejected the idea.
Meanwhile, the Kejriwal camp stressed that the possibility of a patch-up was bleak, but it was unlikely that the party would crack the whip, as Vishwas is popular with the rank and file and has proven oratorical skills.
Another prominent speculation is that top leaders have sidelined Vishwas because of his singular identity.
Since the eviction of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party, in which Vishwas reportedly played a major role, the leadership crisis has increased.
During this time, Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, also maintained a distance from bashing the central government.