With an aim to provide “true alternative politics” in the country, former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav Sunday announced the formation of a new political party — Swaraj India — emanating from the Swaraj Abhiyaan.
Yadav was unanimously elected party national president at the party’s founding convention, where he stressed how Swaraj India would differ from other national and regional political parties in the countries.
In his maiden address to approximately 400 party workers in the capital, Yadav said, “For us, politics is not a career or a trade but a mission. We will separate ourselves from others.”
He also stated that the basic pillars of the Indian republic are under attack and the country needs an alternative to the existing political choices available to them.
“Today, the founding values of our republic are under threat. Democracy, diversity and dialogue is under attack, ironically by the ones who are entrusted to safeguard these values. The very idea of India is under a challenge. Sadly, there is no political force that has the vision and the will to take on this challenge. Swaraj India takes up the challenge to fill up this vacuum,” Yadav told the convention.
Removed from the AAP in April last year for alleged “anti-party activities,” Yadav attacked AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal stating that “the person who entered politics to cure the disease of politics is today a victim of the same disease”.
He also hit out at the party alleging that the AAP has not just done “injustice” to itself but also “betrayed the aspirations of crores of Indians”.
While Prashant Bhushan will continue to be national president of the Swaraj Abhiyaan, no official announcement for a position for him in the party has been made as yet. Swaraj Abhiyan will “remain a non-electoral campaign organisation and continue working on public issues”.
Ajit Jha was named party’s general secretary and Ahmad Faheem Khan, its treasurer. Professor Anand Kumar will be a mentor and advisor to Swaraj India.
Approximately 400 delegates of the party from different states supported the resolution to form a party at the founding convention ahead of the official announcement of the formation of the party. A 22-page convention was also subsequently adopted.
The first signature on the list of founder members of the party was that of former law minister Shanti Bhushan. Speaking at the convention, Bhushan expressed hope that the new political party would “take on the divisive and corrupt political parties to bring real Swaraj in the country”.
The constitution details the party’s objectives, organisational structure, terms of membership and powers of office bearers.
“We will be the first party to voluntarily bring ourselves under the RTI Act and work toward a transparent and innovative candidate selection process like the primaries,” Yadav said.
He added that federalism will be woven into the basic structure of the party and that “there will be freedom of expression within the party at all levels and dissent will be accorded respect and space”.
He also said the party will not issue any whip to its representatives and give right to freedom of expression to its members. The party will not initiate disciplinary action against anyone for views expressed personally.”
On its founding day, party volunteers collected Rs 1,85,000 from members present at the convention. While the party did not make any formal announcement for contesting elections in any state, it is likely to participate in the MCD elections in the national capital, scheduled to be held April next year.