A month after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP and Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India are among the political parties and civil society groups joining a rally against “right-wing fascism”, to be held on October 5. The rally is being organised in Delhi by ‘Democratic Coalition to Rescue Democracy’.
This is not the first time that the two parties have backed the same cause. However, the participation of AAP and Swaraj India in the rally has led to speculation of a merger between the two — a fact denied by both AAP and Yadav.
Yadav said, “The entire thing was planned by Prashant Bhushan. But since he wasn’t in town, the coalition asked me. They came to me at the last minute… They said AAP will also be there and asked if I had any objections… For an issue like the murder of Gauri Lankesh, I will not refuse just because someone is from AAP.”
He alleged that the “speculation” that the press conference for the event — which saw both Yadav and AAP leader Dilip Pandey — indicated a merger was “fuelled by AAP”.
“The impression that the two of us are forming an alliance is being aired by AAP. This was an event… in fact, AAP was one of the last ones to join. Since then, though, the party’s unofficial social media channels have been promoting this,” Yadav said.
However, AAP leader Ashutosh denied that there was any chance of a political union. “Just because we share a stage doesn’t mean he is welcome in the party. This is completely baseless and without substance.”
The rally will take place next Sunday at 1 pm between Mandi House and Jantar Mantar, said members of the coalition at a press conference on Monday. Other members of the coalition include Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mewani, CPI(ML) Red Star K N Ramachandran and social activist Harsh Mander.
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