AAP ‘rebels’ meet to brainstorm future

Farooq Anwar

File Photo(PTI)

Removed from the top party panels and National Executive, the faction represented by the duo Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan held an impressive meeting of party volunteers and the members of AAP loyal to them.

The powerful faction of Aam Aadmi Party led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal  has already dubbed the meet in Gurgaon ‘out  of bounds’ for the part members, even announcing punishment for those attending the meet.

Speculations are high that the ‘rebel’ faction led by Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan could be forming a new political party. It is for the time since its inception that the APP internal conflicts openly hit the headlines.

“It’s a day of new beginning. AAP Constitution gives an ordinary member of the party, the freedom of expression which no other party gives and if the workers are using that freedom I am sure the party would respect it. I am not sure if the party has changed its own constitution,” said Yogendra Yadav kick-starting the meet.

The main theme of a day-long event has been discussion over issues ranging from dialogue on democracy and Swaraj. The latter has figured as a focal issue during the Delhi Assembly, giving the AAP rich dividends each time they fought elections over it.

On the questions of possible action taken by the official faction against those who attended the meet, Yogendra Yadav responded, “A party based of the principles of democracy should not be afraid of an open discussion.”

Among the prominent members who attended the meet were four expelled members from AAP’s National Executive- Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha. Sitting MLA for Delhi’s Timarpur Pankaj Pushkar was a surprise participant. Apart from them, senior leader Shanti Bhushan and several who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections too were present.

“Our party is new. Different people have different opinions on discipline. I believe that today’s meeting is in line with the ideals of our party,” Delhi MLA Pushkar said.

An audio message of Admiral L Ramdas, who has recently removed from party’s internal Lokpal post was also played out in the meeting. In the message Ramdas said that a ‘Samwad’ cannot be seen as an “anti-party activity” and that people must be allowed to speak in a democracy.

Addressing the meet, AAP co-founder Shanti Bhushan said “aam voters who joined the AAP party in hope that there will be change in the politics, unfortunately faces disappointed.  So let their hopes remain intact. We have to bring the change”.

He emphasized in a stronger tone that in a party there should be no dictatorship, and a party should welcome all opinions to be heard.

The organisers of the meet had also extended an invite to those members who were “unhappy with the current party leadership” to voice their views in the event.

However, it has to be seen how Arvind Kejriwal led faction reacts to this event.