Announces separate committees for both regions ahead of the general elections

At its maiden meeting on the State soil, the leadership of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has supported separate Telangana on the ground that the party generally favoured decentralisation of power which was possible in smaller States.

The party announced setting up of separate State committees for Telangana and Andhra and a campaign committee for the ensuing general elections.

Initially, an eight-member coordination panel headed by B. Ramakrishnam Raju, State convenor of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), was constituted.

The national executive member of AAP and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan who addressed media persons on the sidelines of a public meeting at A.V. College ground here on Saturday did not hazard a guess on the number of seats that the fledgling party would contest but said it would enter polls in both Telangana and Seemandhra.

“We want to contest in as many constituencies in the State and country depending on the availability of reasonable party machinery and good candidates”.

Sloganeering at venue

The meeting was marred by slogan shouting by Telangana and Seemandhra supporters with the latter objecting to the party favouring bifurcation of the State.

In the midst of the confusion, some BJYM activists arrived to protest against Mr. Bhushan’s remarks in the past seeking a referendum on Kashmir issue.

The police took eight of them into preventive custody.

Rules out alliances, proposes merger

Mr. Bhushan ruled out AAP entering into pre-poll alliances and said like minded parties such as Lok Satta were welcome to merge with the former. Some discussions with Lok Satta had taken place but no conclusion was reached.

On reports that the BJP was trying to poach five AAP MLAs in Delhi, he said he had not heard about it but the BJP was trying a lot more things. The Congress also wanted to split the party. However, both of them would not succeed.

He also said the character of Congress, BJP and most of the regional parties was the same as they believed in centralisation of power and dividing people on caste and religious lines to win votes.

The AAP’s poll plank will be corrupt free nation, good governance and participatory role of people in democracy. The party felt these were bigger challenges than the issue of Telangana.

Mr. Bhushan earlier inaugurated the party office at Panjagutta.