New Delhi: Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal removed Kapil Mishra from his Cabinet, the latter accused him of taking Rs 2 crore “illegal cash” from health minister Satyendra Jain.
This was latest among a series of fiascos in Aam Aadmi Party after it lost municipal elections to Bharatiya Janata Party on April 25. Addressing the victorious councillors on May 1, BJP President Amit Shah had said, “Our target was not just to win the MCD. It has built the base for the formation of a BJP government in Delhi now.”
While Arvind Kejriwal managed to control the first public crisis, at least for the time being, by convincing Kumar Vishwas, who had criticised the party leadership, to stay in the party, the Kapil Mishra episode has shown that the problem is far bigger.
The power circle in Delhi is abuzz with speculation that a section of AAP MLAs might be in talks with the BJP and the fact that Mishra, after being sacked as water minister, has targeted Kejriwal could be a sign of things to come.
“It is hard to ignore the connection. Mishra’s mother, Annapurna Mishra, is a prominent member of Delhi BJP. There is something fishy here,” said a senior AAP MLA, on condition of anonymity.
Another AAP MLA, Pawan Kumar Sharma, said, “BJP knows Kejriwal is their only competitor in Delhi. Yes, they would try and influence our party members,” he said.
A third AAP leader, who is not an MLA but is considered close to Kejriwal, said the Saffron Party was doing “all it can” to topple the AAP government. “BJP is planning to pull this off by Diwali, no matter what it takes,” said the leader.
Mayank Gandhi, a former AAP leader who has been critical of the way Kejriwal is running the organisation and the government, told News18 that the possibility of a BJP push to knock down the Delhi government could not be ruled out. “BJP will do it… this could well be one of their moves,” he said.
A top Congress leader, who has friends across parties, said, “A reliable BJP leader told me that they would like Kejriwal government out.”
BJP, however, refuted the “rumours” and said AAP was trying to blame the Saffron Party for its own failure. “It has become a norm now. Anyone from AAP who speaks up against the party is now considered to be siding with the BJP. It is about time AAP solved the problems within the unit and stopped this blame game,” said BJP spokesperson Ashok Goel.