Amidst the raging public spat among its leadership, a section of Aam Aadmi Party’s MLAs has demanded that the father-son duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan be expelled along with Yogendra Yadav from its ranks for anti-party activities.
Calling for exemplary action against those found to be involved in breaking party discipline, AAP MLA Kapil Mishra has started a signature campaign among the party's legislators seeking the ouster of the three beleaguered leaders.
Mishra, the MLA from Karawal Nagar, claimed that more than 55 AAP MLAs have so far signed the petition.
"I will give this petition, with the support of our MLAs, to Arvind (Kejriwal) ji once he comes back. I have spoken to all our MLAs and they have agreed to sign the petition," said Mishra. Kejriwal, the AAP chief, is in Bangalore for naturopathy treatment.
AAP MLAs Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura), Surinder Singh (Delhi Cantt) and former minister Girish Soni (Madipur), among others, met on Wednesday to sign the petition.
However, there are a few MLAs who have still not signed the letter, among them Col Devendra Sehrawat, the Bijwasan MLA, and Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar.
"Why should a person be punished twice for the same crime. They have already been removed from the (AAP) Political Affairs Committee and this is against the law of natural justice," said Sehrawat, adding that the party has not issued any kind of whip or order on signing the petition.
"I am a disciplined soldier of the party. Whatever the party says, I will do. But this was an informal decision taken by the AAP MLAs. There is no party diktat on this.
"I don't want the party to break and there should be more unifying forces rather than divisive forces," he said.
Despite several attempts, Pushkar, who is considered to be close to Yadav and Bhushan, could not be contacted.
Meanwhile, sources said that the Kejriwal camp was preparing the ground for launching an all-out attack on the Bhushans and Yadav ahead of the AAP National Council meeting later this month.
The move comes after the AAP brass tore into the trio on Tuesday, accusing them of working to ensure the party's defeat in the recent Delhi Assembly polls and maligning its image.
Incidentally, the petition is also a replica of the charges levelled by the senior AAP leaders on Tuesday.
"During the Assembly polls, the party was fighting a war on two fronts. On one side, we were fighting a war with outside forces (the Congress and BJP) and, on the other side; we were fighting with our own people.
"For many volunteers, who quit their jobs, the victory of the party was nothing but a matter of life and death. These people (Bhushans and Yadav), tried to sabotage the party's prospects by asking volunteers not to come to Delhi for campaigning and also stopping the funds of the party," charged Mishra.
"They tried to malign the image of our party and our leadership," he added.
Prashant and Yadav were voted out from the AAP's Political Affairs Committe last week in the wake of allegations by its members that they wanted to remove Kejriwal from the post of the party's National Convener.