‘Kejriwal offered to quit as party chief’

New Delhi: AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement to resign from the post of national convener and his emotional speech were the “turning point” in the crucial party meet which expelled dissident leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, a party source said on Saturday.

A party leader who attended the national council meeting told IANS that Kejriwal narrated some incidents of “betrayal” by eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan which turned the tables in a “divided house”.

In his 25-minute speech, which was interrupted by sloganeering and shouting, Kejriwal handed over his resignation to national secretary Pankaj Gupta, saying he was ready to resign if members wanted him to step down.

He revealed to the over 300 members that it was at Bhushan’s insistence that he refused to furnish a personal bond in a defamation case filed by BJP leader and union minister Nitin Gadkari. The court jailed him for a week.

The leader quoted Kejriwal as saying: “When the judge asked me about furnishing the personal bond, I looked at Prashant Bhushan. He shook his head, saying no. He conveyed the same to the judge. I was not aware that it will land me in jail.”

“His (Kejriwal’s) emotional appeal moved the people and they voted overwhelmingly against the dissidents. I was touched too. In fact, I was also undecided. Like me, some others were not sure,” the party legislator who was a minister in the previous AAP government told IANS.

Apart from Yadav and Bhushan, two others — Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha – were also removed for anti-party activities.