New Delhi: Expelled Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan are planning to launch a political party and may field candidates for the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, at a time when Arvind Kejriwal is pulling out all stops to ensure victory in the state.
Swaraj Abhiyan, a group formed by the duo and their supporters after their expulsion from the AAP, said they were "seriously thinking" about contesting the Assembly elections in Punjab.
"We intend to launch a political party soon, but no date has been fixed. But yes, we are seriously thinking about contesting Punjab polls," said a senior Swaraj Abhiyan leader.
Meanwhile, the party has said it will "back" musician Bhai Baldeep Singh from Khadoor Sahib Assembly during by-poll in Punjab in February.
"Swaraj Abhiyan is currently a non-political organisation and we don't hope to launch the party by next month. Bhai Baldeep Singh will contest as an independent and will be backed by Swaraj Abhiyan. We will be putting all our weight behind him," he said.
Bhai Baldeep Singh, who is also a part of the national executive of the organisation, said, "Swaraj Abhiyan's support is crucial for the polls."
Yadav and other Abhiyan leaders are also expected to campaign for Singh next month.
The decision to support Singh was taken on Sunday. He had contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls on AAP ticket from Khadoor Sahib, but had lost.
The seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki resigned from the Assembly in protest against the sacrilege incidents in the state.
"We have to start somewhere. We have a candidate for Khadoor Sahib, who knows the constituency well and is also a popular face," the leader added.
Incidentally, the AAP is pulling out all stops to ensure victory in Punjab. Last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressed a mega rally in the state. Swaraj Abhiyan draws a significant number of volunteers and leaders from the AAP, who were either expelled or they resigned after the removal of Bhushan, Yadav and some other National Executive members.
AAP's Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, two of the four MPs of AAP from Punjab – Dhramvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa – are linked to Swaraj Abhiyan. The two MPs have also been suspended from the party, but not expelled. So, they technically remain AAP members.
After its formation, Swaraj Abhiyan has been building the organisation not only in Punjab, but other parts of the country.
The organisation chose Punjab when it launched the 'Jai Kisan Andolan' that involved touring areas of states like Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka that witnessed drought-like condition and farmers suicide.
Targeting Kejriwal, the organisation has also opposed the Delhi government over education policies and "dilution" of the Jan Lokpal Bill.