New Delhi: At an event on Sunday, Four former Aam Aadmi Party leaders – expelled in April 2015 launched a new political party, Swaraj India, and declared that while they would fight the 2017 municipal elections in Delhi. Next year’s assembly elections in Punjab would not be in their sights, though the party would support the new formation announced by rebel AAP MP Dharamvir Gandhi there.
Announcing the launch of Swaraj India, social scientist Yogendra Yadav said, “Now that we are a political party, it is not that we will contest every election. Politics in Punjab is very fluid and the need of the hour is to defeat the Badal government, which is the most hated [one] in the country.”
Bhushan spelt out how Swaraj India would be different from all the other parties people have seen thus far. He said it would be the first party to bring itself under the ambit of the Right to Information Act and will also give ample freedom to its elected representatives; it would, for example, not use a party whip on assembly members and MPs, restricting it to no-confidence motions alone. “Our members will have the freedom to express their opinion contrary to the one shared by the party, which does not happen in other parties,” he said.
Swaraj Abhiyan which deliberately chose Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday for the occasion to stress that it would strive for probity, honesty and transparency in public life, also announced the party’s office-bearers
It said Yadav would be president and Ajit Jha, who was also suspended from AAP along with Yadav and Bhushan, the general secretary That the party leaders have still not forgotten their battles with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also became evident when they accused him of “betraying the aam aadmi (common man)”.
It was also announced that Swaraj Abhiyan, under the leadership of Bhushan, would continue to operate as a separate entity, providing those who do not wish to enter electoral politics an alternative to raise issues of public welfare. Already, Swaraj Abhiyan has made a name for itself by raising issues ranging from the distress among farmers due to the agrarian crisis, to the state promotion of liquor sales in Delhi and elsewhere, and corruption.
Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan had announced their decision to float a new political party as an “alternative political vehicle” on July 31. A six-member committee was then formed to complete the formalities before October 2.
In an interview to The Wire , Yadav had then spoken about how the new political party would be different from the “supremo” culture in Kejriwal’s AAP and what their political party would be seeking to achieve. “In terms of transparency and accountability, we laid norms that there should be a Lokpal, we should have a grievance mechanism, we should have our public information officer,” he had said.
The new party has taken steps to implement all these promises.
Speaking about offering a “genuine alternative”, Yadav had also spelt out a roadmap stating that “one of the biggest failures of the progressive forces in our country is that they have abdicated the plank of nationalism and by default handed over this plank to those forces who did not shed one drop of blood for the freedom of this country.” To this end, he had noted that the political face of Swaraj Abhiyan would strive to reclaim this space.