The convention of rebel AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan began this morning with volunteers from across the country terming it a day of “new beginning” even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led party warned of action against those attending the event.
Yadav and Bhushan had announced their decision of holding the dialogue, ‘Swaraj Samwad’, to discuss the future course of action after their expulsion from AAP’s top echelons, triggering speculations of floating a new party.
Before the session began at around 10 AM today, Yadav told reporters “I am sure we would witness something new here”.
“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,” he said.
At the convention, key leaders who were seen on stage include the four expelled members from AAP’s National Executive–Yadav, Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha–Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar and several Lok Sabha candidates from various states.
“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,” Pushkar said.
One hour into the meeting, an audio message of Admiral L Ramdas’s, who was recently removed from the post of party’s internal Lokpal, was played out from the stage.
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.
“I don’t belong to any particular faction of AAP. For me there is just one AAP…The party’s principle and image has been hurt most in the strong arm tactics that have been used and we have miserably failed as a party which was formed on the principles of swaraj,” he said adding his apology for not being present in the meeting that is underway in Gurgaon.
In a veiled threat, senior party leader Sanjay Singh said AAP’s all-powerful Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and its National Executive (NE) would decide the next move in this regard after the meeting.
“Swaraj Samwad is not a party function. The PAC and NE will decide on what action needs to be taken after the meeting,” Singh said.