New Delhi: Swaraj Abhiyan – the initiative launched by the Prashant Bhushan-Yogendra Yadav duo – has announced its nationwide programme for mobilization of public opinion. Its target: the Aam Aadmi Party’s large volunteer base in states.
In a bid to connect with the volunteers and masses outside Delhi through dialogues known as Swaraj Samwad, the Bhushan-Yadav faction has planned to reach out to the masses at 20 destinations in 13 states within a month – from Jammu to Karnataka, and from Gujarat to Assam.
“We’re glad to inform that by the overwhelming response of the supporters of alternative politics, Swaraj Abhiyan will have Swaraj Samwad in 20 places from 29 April to 31 May. We’ll organize dialogues in Jammu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, UP, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Assam, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat in a month’s period, led by our leaders Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Prof Anand Kumar and Prof Ajit Jha,” a Swaraj Abhiyan spokesperson said.
The Swaraj Abhiyan will kick-start with its first Samwad in Bengaluru on 29 April.
Besides the dialogue on alternative politics, Swaraj Abhiyan will focus on building a strong volunteer base across the country. It expects to draw leverage from a large section of AAP volunteers outside Delhi, who have either felt ‘deprived’ or ‘frustrated’ over the ugly turn of events within AAP since it formed government in Delhi.
“There’s a large section of AAP volunteers outside Delhi, who were either not allowed to function or were clueless about their position within the party. We’re positive of such volunteers, who are expected to join us and provide us with a strong base,” Swaraj Abhiyan’s leader and chief spokesperson Prof Ajit Jha told DailyBouncer
“Right now, we’re not going to form any party and we want to make it clear that anyone harbouring any such ambition to make a political career by joining the Abhiyan, is not in the right place. It’s a place for those interested in clean and alternative politics. We need to think afresh through a creative participation in dialogues. Our objective is to end the intellectual divide that exists in our political space and simultaneously nurture how one can function democratically. That’s the fundamental of Swaraj,” he said.
At the initial stage, Swaraj Abhiyan won’t organize rallies, but would focus on Swaraj Samwad. However, the leaders of this movement expect a big turnout in their programmes in Allahabad, Patna and Kolkata, which will be as big as a rally.
However, unlike in the past, Delhi is no more ‘untouchable’ for the Swaraj Abhiyan. Despite, the AAP having a stable government in Delhi, its opposite camp wants a strong presence in the national capital this time. Swaraj Abhiyan wants to address all those AAP volunteers in Delhi, who are either still with the party or have quit. Swaraj Abhiyan wants to act as a ‘positive and creative force’ in Delhi.
“Our activities outside Delhi are three to four times more than the AAP. Now we’re promoting Swaraj Samwad in Delhi in the next 10 days, with a positive agenda. We’ll take the Abhiyan to Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi. There is a lot of anger and bitterness amongst Delhi volunteers. We want to tell them that we’re neither against Arvind Kejriwal nor we’ll act as a resistant to the government. We want to focus on public issues and to see how people can organise themselves for the common good,” added Jha, who’s also in-charge of Delhi for Swaraj Abhiyan.
However, there’s a word of caution for the Swaraj Abhiyan that is trying to be ‘different’ from the AAP.
Political sociologist, Prof Manjit Singh of Punjab University said, “People are looking for a genuine leader. Gradually from physical leadership, a party or movement needs to move towards decentralization, if it has to sustain successfully. If Swaraj Abhiyan works democratically, people will voluntarily join the movement and success will follow.”
Citing the Sikh Movement, Singh added, “Guru Gobind Singh after forming ‘Khalsa’ had said that each Sikh was equivalent to Sawa lakh (1.25 lakh) soldiers. This kind of confidence a leader has to infuse among volunteers. The AAP despite being a volunteer-centric party failed to provide that confidence in its volunteers… it didn’t happen with Arvind Kejriwal, because everything revolved around him only.”