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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ousted from AAP, party rebels may form grand front ahead of Punjab Assembly polls

The rebels who had either been ousted or suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for questioning the party or its convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s style of leadership, may join hands as individual political fronts to form an alliance in the lead up to the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab. If there is any state where AAP has witnessed electoral success it’s Punjab, besides Delhi. 

Punjab is the only state from where AAP managed to send four members to the Parliament. That's a feat that the party could not achieve, even from Delhi. However, The same Punjab has now witnessed a major dissent among the party’s rank and file – followed by the many suspensions and expulsions. 

 With AAP removing its Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur from the post – for alleged financial irregularities – on 26 August, the fissure within the party has become even more glaring. The party that the people of Punjab considered would pose a real challenge to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress party in the upcoming Assembly election in 2017 – and emerge as an alternative that could displace the ruling SAD-BJP combine – is gradually turning into a distant dream. 

 “It may so happen that several small political fronts will join hands ahead of the Punjab election to form a grand front or alliance, with a common goal and principle. But right now it can’t be said how the grand front would be, or whether smaller parties will join a bigger one,” said political-sociologist, Prof Manjit Singh. 

 In the last one year, several political fronts have emerged in Punjab. While the expelled co-founders of AAP, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, launched Swaraj Abhiyan, a socio-political movement, which has now become a yet-to-be-named party; the rebel MP from Patiala, Dharamvira Gandhi, has also recently launched a political front. “Dharamvira Gandhi will name his new party sometime soon. Chhotepur may also form a new political front. 

There are other smaller parties launched by AAP rebels and all those may join hands,” said Singh, who is also the president of the newly formed Democratic Swaraj Party, which he launched after quitting AAP. The other lesser known smaller fronts existing in the battleground Punjab are Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan Party, Apna Punjab, Swabhiman Party, etc.

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