New Delhi, Mar 3: In yet another development that would bring embarrassment to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), already troubled due to ongoing internal tussle, a party leader recorded a telephonic conversation with a journalist, without her knowledge, who wrote a critical piece on AAP.
The AAP leader is now using that recording to build a case against Yogendra Yadav as the ongoing rift within the party has come out in the open.
As per a report published in the Indian Express, in the conversation, held on August 29, 2014, Bibhav Kumar, now personal aide to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, called Chander Suta Dogra, then working with The Hindu and now Associate Editor with The Indian Express, over her piece "Fading promise of the Indian Spring" published in The Hindu that day.
In the artical Dogra had criticised AAP's strategy in Punjab and Haryana for not contesting in the Assembly elections. The article mentioned, the Haryana AAP unit, of which Yadav was a leading member, had established a formidable structure and most volunteers were enthusiastic of contesting state polls, a decision which was vetoed by Kejriwal.
As per the recording, which is made public by a section of AAP -- which is miffed with Yadav -- Bibhav Kumar called up Dogra to tell there were factual errors in her piece.
To which Dogra said that it was based on remarks made by a top AAP leader who had called an informal breakfast meeting with her and four other journalists, the IE report quoted.
Another report published by the Indian Express today quoted Dogra as saying, "On August 15, 2014, I was invited, along with four other journalists, to meet Yogendra Yadav over breakfast at the Chandigarh home of an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office-bearer in Punjab.
I was working for The Hindu then, and the meeting was held against the backdrop of the AAP's performance in the Lok Sabha elections, and the party's decision not to contest the (then forthcoming) Haryana assembly polls."
"In response to our queries, Yadav told us that the Haryana decision was undemocratic, as it had been opposed by the state executive committee, as well as a majority of those who voted at the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party," added the report.
"He said there was widespread anger among the party workers over this and other issues. Several other party members who were present echoed Yadav. Since this was not a formal press conference, we were told not to attribute the information to Yadav in our writings, but we could use it in other ways," report further added.
The recording is now using the recording as an evidence against Yogendra Yadav, party's key think tank and strategist.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal said he was "deeply hurt and pained" by the ongoing tussle in the party.
"I am deeply hurt and pained by what is going on in the party. This is betrayal of trust that Delhi posed in us," Kejriwal tweeted.
"I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle. Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance," he added.
Senior leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan have questioned AAP's "one person-centric" approach and criticised it.