AAP expels Yadav Bhushan
Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan during a press conference in New Delhi, on 15 April 2015.IANS

In a bid to counter Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's efforts to secure a huge victory in the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, former party leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav are set to launch a new political party by this year.

The expelled AAP leaders and their supporters have formed a group named Swaraj Abhiyan and are likely to contest the Punjab elections.

"We intend to launch a political party soon, but no date has been fixed. But yes, we are seriously thinking about contesting Punjab polls," PTI quoted a senior Swaraj Abhiyan leader as saying.

A huge chunk of Swaraj Abhiyan top brass are former AAP leaders and volunteers, who were either expelled from the party or they voluntarily resigned following the removal of Bhushan, Yadav and other prominent leaders from the Kejriwal-led anti-corruption party.

However, the Abhyan leader added that their organisation will not contest in the upcoming by-poll in February, but instead support musician Bhai Baldeep Singh from Khadoor Sahib constituency.

Singh, who is a member of the national executive of Swaraj Abhiyan, had lost from Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha seat after contesting on AAP ticket in 2014.

"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 added.

The organisation decided to support Singh on Sunday and all Abhiyan leaders are expected to campaign for him in February.

The Khadoor Sahib seat was open for polls following the resignation of Congress MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki to protest the recent sacrilege incidents in Punjab.

Two of AAP's four parliamentarians from Punjab -- Dhramvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa -- who had been suspended from the party are reportedly linked to Abhiyan. The two MPs are still AAP members as they were not expelled. Pankaj Pushkar, AAP MLA from Timarpur, is also said to be linked to the rebel group.

Swaraj Abhiyan has criticised Kejriwal over the Delhi government's education policies and dilution of the Jan Lokpal Bill, reported PTI.

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