news Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 05:30
Kicking off the first ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ in Bengaluru on Wednesday, former Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said that the initiative should be a “political movement” which should look at redefining politics. Several members of the AAP from Karnataka were also present at the gathering which took place right opposite the AAP's office and Yadav claimed that the Karnataka unit of the party had issued a “little fatwa” to office-bearers who attend the dissenters’ meeting. “Just smile at them and laugh it away, don’t spend too much energy on it”, he advised. Yadav was addressing a gathering comprising civil society groups, AAP members and individuals who had come together for the ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’.  While speaking to members of the media after his interaction with the gathering, Yadav said that there weren’t any plans for a new political party and he doesn’t think “the country is ready for another party” citing a “loss of faith” among the people. The ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ movement is an initiative by Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kuma, Ajit Jha and their supporters to bring forth an alternative idea of politics which intends to be more democratic and transparent. The four leaders had been expelled from the AAP earlier this month. The 51-year-old began his initial address by telling those present that the movement should not become a “stick to beat the AAP with”, as Yadav believes there were many within the corporate-controlled media which were out to get the party anyway. Yadav also laid down pointers for what he thought should be the basic ideals for politics in the country mentioning inner-party democracy, transparency under the RTI and the abolition of personality cult politics. “An idea which is different yet in a minority” should be heard out said Yadav, stressing on the need for “collective decision making”. Criticizing the “Dilli Durbar” culture as he put it, Yadav told supporters that what is called national politics should be redefined. “You can’t dictate what happens in Tumkur from Delhi” he said, while calling for a more federal structure to politics. The remarks made by Yadav though could be seen as a veiled attack on the working of the AAP which Yadav and Bhushan had been critical of prior to their expulsion. Sections of the media had reported that the duo was miffed with the personality cult surrounding the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and because the AAP hadn’t been transparent during the Delhi polls according to them. There were reports which also hinted at the fact that while Kejriwal had intended to focus on Delhi, Yadav and his supporters had insisted that the party take the national route during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Weighing in on the recent controversy surrounding the AAP’s Law Minister in Delhi, Yadav said that he had raised the issue prior to his expulsion saying, “His degree is fake, the party knew it”. The ex-AAP leader added that they had requested for an enquiry into the matter back then which he says was never conducted. Yadav also spoke about having a focus for the Swaraj Abhiyan which would intend to be more democratic.  He spoke of having a national agenda which would include finding answers to relevant problems by consulting experts and creative people.  The former CSDS fellow talked of establishing ‘Swaraj Kendras’ at district, taluk and state levels where people could help society by contributing in their own way. Touching on an ongoing debate, he mentioned the need to bridge the India and Bharat divide saying that the class which comprised people from “India” were not “insensitive, but not aware enough” of the farmers problems. At a time when the land bill is bone of political contention and farmer’s issues have been taken up by the mainstream media, he said that more effort was required from the ‘India’ side of the divide to understand the farmers’ issue better and that farmer movements needed an injection of youth. The event was organized at a venue which had been used by the AAP for its meetings in the past but Heeralal Sharma, the man who owns the place, had earmarked it for use by the Abhiyan from now on. Members of civil society groups present at the meeting who had backed the AAP earlier now seemed disillusioned with the party saying that the ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ appeared more in line with the kind of democratic functioning they were looking for. An organizer of the event did mention that more than 400 people had signed up with the movement in its first meeting anywhere in the country. Stopovers are reportedly scheduled for Ahmedabad, Patna and Kolkata.        
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