Swaraj India, the political outfit floated by breakaway Aam Aadmi Party faction led by Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, will fight the upcoming election to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on the ‘whistle’ symbol.
The move follows successful registration of the whistle symbol by 95% of the party’s candidates for the poll scheduled to be held on the 23rd of this month. The party was unable to have the symbol allocated to itself as it was ‘registered’ but yet to be recognized.
The party, which has the support of many ground-level anti-corruption activists and organizations, said the whistle represents the ability of common people to stop injustice.
“This is the whistle of the security guard, the constable. It is the whistle of the referee, who blows it whenever a foul is committed,” said National President Yogendra Yadav.
“Wherever a leader is telling lies or doing the wrong thing, encouraging corruption or robbing the people, blow this whistle,” Yadav said.
The allotment of whistle to most of the candidates comes as a relief to the fledgling party as it would have found it very difficult to make a mark in its electoral debut without a common symbol.
Yadav and Bhushan were among the key members of the initial leadership council for the Aam Aadmi Party, which swept the polls three years ago with its unconventional symbol, the broom.
Several top leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party broke away within a few months of the electoral victory after they were accused of trying to further their ambitions by Arvind Kejriwal, who was then the most influential among AAP’s various leaders.
Kejriwal said objections by Bhushan, Yadav and others to the way he had conducted the election and continued to run the party was a sign of their “ambitions” rather than any commitment to principles.
On the other hand, the breakaway leaders accused Kejriwal of acting like a dictator, surrounding himself with ‘yes men’ and of being incapable of benefiting from feedback and criticism.
The expelled leaders formed Swaraj Abhiyan — a socio-political organization — and subsequently created Swaraj India.
The upcoming MCD polls are considered a make or break election for both Aam Aadmi Party and Swaraj India.
A poor show by AAP in the MCD polls would validate criticism leveled by the breakaway leaders about Kejriwal’s inability to listen to others. Already, AAP’s poor showing in the Punjab polls, where it was considered one of the forerunners, has already been blamed on Kejriwal projecting himself has the chief ministerial candidate, contrary to feedback from the party’s local base.
So too, a very poor performance by Swaraj Party in the polls would come as a set back to workers of the new party, many of whom are yet to recover from their ‘AAP experience’.
Both AAP and Swaraj Party are trying to expand their activities to other states in India and replace the Indian National Congress, considered to be on the decline due to persistent corruption allegations and dynastic politics.