Former Haryana Congress chief launches ‘Apna Bharat Morcha’


Ashok Tanwar’s new outfit is positioning itself as an alternative political platform for raising issues

Former president of Haryana Congress Ashok Tanwar on Thursday launched a new outfit, ‘Apna Bharat Morcha’, which is positioning itself as an alternative political platform.

A source close to Mr. Tanwar said the morcha is “a platform to raise people’s issues” and not yet a political party.

His former party colleague and former chief of the Congress in Tripura, Pradyot Manikya, also joined him on stage at the event held at the Constitution Club here.

Mr Tanwar’s supporters claimed that his outfit was simultaneously launched online from 25 places, including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh, among others.

Several retired bureaucrats, including former police officer, S.R. Darapuri, who was arrested during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Lucknow, also attended the launch.

“The Opposition is dumb and the government is deaf. So when the politics is between them, the people will suffer. The new political formation has to struggle for the people,” Mr. Tanwar told an audience of mostly his supporters.

Mr. Manikya, who has already started an alliance of indigenous peoples under the banner of his organisation, Tipra, asserted that “nothing should be imposed from Delhi”. He also said that “people who send less members to Parliament” should also be heard.

Among recent desertions from the grand old party, both former Congressmen are seeking to create their own distinct political space.

Once perceived to be close to Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Tanwar, who quit the Congress over his differences with former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is keen to create a new social coalition between Dalits and other non-Jat communities in Haryana.

A Dalit himself, Mr. Tanwar would also look to the substantially large Dalit population in neighbouring Punjab, as well as other north Indian States like U.P. and Uttarakhand.

The former Congress leader would also hope that his outfit becomes a rallying point for disgruntled Congress leaders in the faction-ridden Haryana unit of the party.

In October 2019, days before the Assembly polls in Haryana, Mr. Tanwar quit the Congress after a public face-off with the party leadership over ticket distribution.

The former Congress leader had protested outside 10, Janpath, party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence, after alleging that his supporters had been denied tickets at the prompting of Mr. Hooda.

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