With barely months to go for assembly polls in Punjab, launch of a new political party -- Swaraj Party -- was announced on Sunday in Chandigarh, led by former Panjab University professor Manjit Singh.The new entity claimed association with the Swaraj Abhiyan -- a socio-political group which is headed by expelled Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav. "A large number of delegates of Swaraj Lehar from all over Punjab have launched the Swaraj Party. A state working committee of 41 members has been constituted to expand the party base at the block and village levels," said Manjit Singh, who was unanimously elected the Swaraj Party president, in Chandigarh. Swaraj Lehar was the Punjab unit of Swaraj Abhiyan.The party leadership said its organisational structure was already in place in 11 of the 22 districts in Punjab.
However, none of the national leaders of Swaraj Abhiyan, including Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, were present at the convention where the resolution for creating the new party was passed.Within hours of the announcement about the Swaraj Party by some of its leaders, the Swaraj Abhiyan dissociated itself from the entity."We wish to clarify that this initiative has not been sponsored by Swaraj Abhiyan. Though many colleagues associated with this initiative are from Swaraj Abhiyan, Punjab, the decision to form a political party has not been taken in accordance with the due process laid down by the Abhiyan," the Swaraj Abhiyan media cell said in a statement. "We wish the Swaraj party well and and will like to have a fraternal relationship with it." On the other hand, two suspended Aam Aadmi Party parliamentarians Dr Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa expressed solidarity with the new political entity.
"I welcome the formation of this outfit. Any party that works to propagate the idea of alternative politics and Swaraj must be supported," Gandhi, Lok Sabha member from Patiala, told IANS. Khalsa, MP from Fatehgarh Sahib, too lauded the formation of the new party. "Basically, it's an entity formed by the people thrown out by (Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor) Arvind Kejriwal when they questioned him. We Wish them luck for the future," Khalsa told IANS. "Another group of volunteers compelled to leave the AAP because of the functioning of the AAP's state unit is likely to form a party within some time." Elections to the 117-member assembly in Punjab are scheduled to be held early next year.