The rebel faction of the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha, all fired from the party’s National Executive in acrimonious circumstances, on Tuesday resolved to launch a “Swaraj Abhiyan” to fight for transparent politics throughout the country.
This is likely to be a precursor to a new political party in the long run, but not immediately. The resolution was adopted after more than two thousand supporters at the Swaraj Samvad, largely volunteers from outside Delhi, voted on a future course of action, including the clause that they would not resign from the party as of now.
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Meanwhile, AAP leaders said a PAC meeting has been called for Wednesday to decide on the fate of leaders who attended the Samvad. Party leader Ashutosh said, “This was not an official meeting and the party had not given permission. It is clear that they (rebels) are out to break the party.”
Before the resolution, more than two thousand people voted on three options on a future course of action, filling forms that were distributed at the venue. The option which said “Trust party leadership and appeal to follow Swaraj” got less than two per cent of the vote, with the option “quit the party now and immediately declare the formation of the party” getting one fourth of the vote. Close to 70 per cent, however, voted for the third option which said, “As far as possible, carry out struggle and campaign for Swaraj and public agitations without leaving the party. Review the experience after some time.”
From atop the dais, leaders said the review period would largely be a period of at least six months. The resolution also allows for a group of 49 people to take decisions on how to take the “movement” forward in states across the country.
The resolution came after a day of speeches from by several volunteers. Some Lok Sabha candidates took the stage, as did Pankaj Pushkar, MLA from Timarpur.
Both Yadav and Bhushan said while they understood the desire to either fight the AAP leadership or form a party immediately, “today was not the day to form a new party”.
Bhushan said, “A countrywide movement must take place so we can show that people believe in the politics of principle. Once we do that, then a new political party can emerge from that.”
Yogendra Yadav seemed to echo Bhushan. “We must look for 5,000 political saints across this country. The attendance at this meet shows that the anger against the AAP leadership was not one of only a few people, but many…Today’s historic day must give us a new start, not of a party immediately, but of a new movement.”