Ahead of a crucial convention of rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders next week...
Ahead of a crucial convention of rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders next week, dissident Yogendra Yadav is pulling out all the stops and holding meetings in Chandigarh and Lucknow to muster support among the volunteers of the party that has been rocked by differences among its top brass.
The meetings in Chandigarh and Lucknow are scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, respectively, even as the Yadav camp has claimed to have received an “overwhelming response” from 27 states for its April 14 convention.
Incidentally, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have witnessed many state leaders being suspended by the AAP brass in an attempt to crack the whip on the dissidents within the party.
“These are preparatory meetings for the April 14 convention. Party volunteers have the full right to hold a meeting. We have nothing against anyone,” said sources close to the rebel camp.
They added that the meeting would essentially “assess” where the “movement” stands today and whether or not the party’s “soul” is intact.
Meanwhile, sources said that some 610 volunteers from Delhi, 476 from Uttar Pradesh, 219 from Bihar, 192 from Haryana and 140 from Maharashtra will, among others, be attending the April 14 convention.
“Nearly 2,500 volunteers from 27 states and nearly 100 NRIs have already registered themselves for the convention, which will be held near IFFCO Chowk at Gurgaon. The overwhelming response has made us rethink our arrangements,” sources added.
The Yadav-Prashant Bhushan camp is using social media sites such as Facebook, where it has garnered more than 5,000 likes, and Twitter to publicise the dialogue scheduled on Ambedkar Jayanti.
The rebel group has already released a pre-invite for the event, which is to be held from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., saying it involves “restarting” the journey of alternative politics so as to remain true to the “original spirit” of the ‘andolan’.
The ‘pre-invite’ entails answering questions such as, “Is the party safe in the hands of the current leadership?”, or should it try to recover from “wrong hands”.
“Should it make a fresh beginning? What should be the future direction of our movement? How should we proceed after 14th April?” it asks.
AAP has already warned of strict action against those attending the meeting.
Yadav and Bhushan were expelled from the party’s National Executive along with Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha on March 28.
Apart from Yadav and Bhushan, the invite includes prominent names like Delhi MLA Pankaj Pushkar, resigned National Executive member Christina Samy, party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Bastar, Soni Sori, suspended NE members from Uttar Pradesh, Rakesh Sinha and Vishal Sharma Lathe, and suspended Punjab State Committee member Manjeet Singh.