Dissident Aam Aadmi Party leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on Monday hit back at the party leadership, claiming that it indulged in "gross violation" of the constitution and accusing national disciplinary committee members Pankaj Gupta and Ashish Khetan of accepting donations from dubious companies and doing a 'paid news' story favouring a company.
In his response to the show-cause notice of the national disciplinary committee, Yadav questioned the locus standi of the panel saying since the national executive meeting held on March 29 was illegal, the decisions taken in that meeting were also illegal in nature.
"Major political decisions were taken bypassing the relevant decision making bodies. No committee was even consulted in major decisions like resignation of Delhi government in February 2014, diversion of resources to Varanasi and Amethi constituencies and the allocation of funds to candidates during the Lok Sabha elections.
"The majority NE decision (15 for, 4 against) to allow state units to decide about state assembly elections was not implemented till it was reversed in the next meeting. The PAC decision on the CM staging a dharna was unilaterally overturned by the CM himself", he said.
"The selection of candidates in Delhi election this year was done without adequately involving or even informing the PAC," Yadav said.
He said that this has led to an "undeclared Emergency" in the party. He also attacked Kejriwal and his "coterie" for gross violation of party constitution and has systematically removed all the opposition.
"The party's Leader and the coterie around him have repeatedly violated the letter and the spirit of the Party's Constitution. They have also systematically removed any person, forum or institution within the Party where these acts could be questioned and redressed. Therefore, I cannot but laugh at references to swaraj and democratic procedures in the complaint that you have forwarded. Some of these gross violations have led to a complete breakdown of constitutional order within the party.
"In fact, when the leadership of the party indulges in gross violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the party, conformity to its diktats is an anti-party activity. Rescuing the organisation from this state of affairs is not indiscipline, it is the duty of every volunteer," he said.
The party too hit back saying the rebel leaders had no respect for institutions in the party.
"Before reply reaches the disciplinary committee, it reaches all the (TV) channels. This is their commitment and resolve to respect institutions. I repeat YY (Yadav)/PB (Prashant Bhushan) are masters in shadow boxing and media leaks.
"They talk about respect for institutions. They will disrespect PAC, NE and NC as it did not decide in their favour. And now disrespecting NDC," a party leader said.
Lashing out at the NDC, Yadav dared the panel to take action against Kejriwal for not toeing the party line.
"If your committee finds this indiscipline, what about dozens of other cases where the other leaders, including the National Convener, gave media statements out of line with the Party's position?
"If my talking about the party's "expansion" outside Delhi was an act of indiscipline, what would your "committee" say about the National Convener and CM's declaration during the oath-taking ceremony that the party will be confined to Delhi? Was that declaration approved by any committee? Will you issue him a Show Cause Notice?”
He also accused Kejriwal of personally supervising the signature campaign against him and Bhushan while on medical leave in Bengaluru.
"He (Kejriwal) called up and sent messages to those MLAs who were reluctant to put their signatures on the petition. Will your "committee" carry out an investigation into this sordid episode?"
Prashant Bhushan, in his response, questioned Khetan and Gupta's presence in the committee and accused the latter of not implementing several decisions of the NDC.
Referring to the case of accepting donation of Rs 2 crore, Bhushan said, instead of referring the case to the party Lokpal Admiral L Ramdas, he was sacked from the post.
“You also know that there have been serious charges against you yourself, which should have been referred to the National Lokpal, Admiral Ramdas. These included the acceptance of donations of Rs 2 crore from shell companies, without taking the approval of the PAC as required by the party’s rules, as well as of stalling and not executing the decisions of the National Disciplinary Committee which I was heading and of which you were a member.
“But instead of referring those serious allegations against you to the Lokpal as required by the party Constitution, you have now removed Admiral Ramdas!” Bhushan said in his response to the notice.
He also accused Khetan of writing a “planted” story and added that instead of sacking the former journalist, Khetan has now been rewarded by being appointed as the chairperson of the Delhi Dialogue commission and as a member of the National Disciplinary committee.
Like Bhushan, Yadav too questioned Khetan and Pankaj Gupta's presence in the committee.
"Is it not a scandal that those who are complainants, witness or interested party should sit in judgment over a case?" he said.
Responding to the party's charge of presenting the facts of the national council in a distorted manner, Yadav challenged the party to release the unedited footage of the video.
"If you or anyone has any doubts about what happened inside the NC meeting, why don't you order a public release of the unedited video-tapes from both the cameras," he asked.
He also defended his statement which drew parallel with party's move to curb dissidence as "Stalinist purges".
"The kangaroo trials, expulsions, witch-hunts, character assassination, rumour campaigns and emotional theatre to justify such macabre acts -- all this is so true of the Stalinist regime. I have always maintained that there is one difference - there is no Siberia for exile here!" the dissident leader said.
Rebutting the charges, the party said that even the ministry of home affairs had given a clean chit to the donations of AAP.
“They are making fun of themselves when they are making such charges. Ashish Khetan does not need the certificate of media on his journalism,” AAP leader Ashutosh as the party strongly came out in defence of their leaders.