Asserting that they have “left the shadow of AAP behind”, its expelled founding leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who have regrouped under the banner of ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’, on Saturday said that their “fight against corruption and policies which are leading to skewed employment generation and agrarian crisis” would continue.
Addressing a joint press conference after holding a ‘Swaraj Samvad’ on Saturday – a dialogue with common citizens with regard to the problems of everyday governance, Yadav, Bhushan and Anand Kumar did not rule out forming an alternative political outfit at a later stage “if the need arises”.
“We have left the shadow of Aam Aadmi Party behind. At present, we are not interested in forming a party. If the need arises we may float an outfit in future but in that case we would be moving cautiously, avoiding traps like high command culture and personality cult which the AAP has fallen into,”they said in reply to a query.
“…Right now our emphasis is on channelling the deep resentment within the society which finds cheated by every successive government,” they said.
Strongly criticising the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for having “captured power on the issue of corruption against the Congress regime, only to abandon it and divert all attention to unbridled liberalisation and privatisation”, the Swaraj Abhiyan leaders also came down heavily on the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh for “allowing graft and nepotism to flourish on a scale unprecedented in history”.
Earlier, speaking during the Swaraj Samvad meeting, Bhushan launched a scathing attack on the Modi government and alleged that its policies “reminded one of Russia immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union where private enterprise
and growth rate were touted as a panacea”.
“Given that our investigative agencies continue to be toothless and at the beck and call of governments at the Centre or in the states, only effective deterrents like a strong Lokpal can prevent the country from witnessing plunder of public wealth like in Russia of 1990s,” he said.
Speaking at the same symposium, Yadav expressed great concern over the plight of primary education in UP “which renders all talk of improving higher education meaningless”.
Quoting from a survey, Yadav alleged that most children studying in government schools across the villages of the state did not possess skills relating to reading and mathematics and that this had led to a sharp decline in the percentage of children in the rural areas who chose to study in state-run educational institutions.
The Swaraj Abhiyan leaders also expressed concern over “a series of incidents of communal tensions across the country, especially in UP, which may have been engineered by mainstream political parties for electoral gains”.
“The Swaraj Abhiyan will also set up citizens’ groups which would be encouraged to diffuse any communal tension that may have arisen in their vicinity.
“This would prevent skirmishes from growing into full-blown riots and, in turn, may dissuade political parties from fomenting passions to gain votes,” they said.
At the symposium, Yadav also lamented about the quality of engineering education in the country.
“I met Nandan Nilekani few years back. I asked him why was it that Infosys with its requirement of proficiency in electronics often ended up hiring a good number of those having degrees in mechanical, electrical, or even civil engineering. I was stunned by the reply,” the psephologist said.
“Nilekani told me none of the engineers knew anything that was of value. So the company was just pursuing a policy of hiring those who had engineering degrees and thereafter equipping them with the skills that were required,” Yadav said evoking laughter from the students and academicians.
The former AAP leader, who was expelled from the party recently, was addressing a symposium called ‘Swaraj Samvad’ which sought to mobilise public opinion against the ills that plagued the education system as well as the process of employment generation in the country.