One week after the meeting of the national executive of the Aam Aadmi Party, a 55-member rebel group opposed to the existing leadership of the party gathered under the ‘Save AAP’ banner at spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living facility on the outskirts of Bangalore on Friday for a three-day conference.
The meeting was primarily attended by rebel members from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
It is likely to see the attendance of former AAP founder member Madhu Bhaduri, former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, former AAP Karnataka treasurer K N Chandrakanth over the next two days, according to expelled AAP founder member Ashwini Upadhyay, who is playing a central role in the rebellion.
The rebels will hold talks with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Anna Hazare, who were at the heart of the anti-corruption movement that gave rise to AAP over the next few days to decided on the future tactics of the rebels, Upadhyay said.
“Today the discussions revolved around why AAP failed in the elections. We had a district wise analysis on some of things that could have been done. Tomorrow more members are expected to attend and broader subjects will be looked at,” he said.
“We will speak to Anna Hazare over the phone and will have a chintan baitak with Guruji (Sri Sri Ravishankar),” he said. Former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi, who is currently in the US, was also expected to attend the meeting, Upadhyay claimed.
Many of the participants in the rebel Save AAP meeting here were members disgruntled with party functioning, including many from the Mangalore unit of AAP – the first to be formed in Karnataka.
They have written letters over the past few weeks to the national leadership of AAP over decisions and people being thrust upon them by the AAP national executive.
Core members of AAP, who did not wish to be identified, alleged the rebel meeting being held under the aegis of the Art of Living was an indication that it is an RSS-driven move to break the AAP movement. “There seems to be a sinister plot. It is strange that the rebels are meeting in that location,” an AAP member said.
Upadhyay, however, rubbished the RSS link allegations and claimed that the meeting was being held at the Art of Living facility because the India Against Corruption movement that was the precursor to AAP was mostly populated by volunteers from AOL.
“There is no specific agenda in hosting the meeting at AOL. They will say anything to run us down. We have people from all communities here. How can it be RSS driven,” Upadhyay said.
AAP’s national executive member Prithvi Reddy, when contacted, said people like Upadhyay and Swaroop Nayak were self-proclaimed founders of AAP, who emerged on the scene after the party had taken shape. He said only two AAP members from Karnatake were in attendance at the rebel meeting.