New Delhi: Anti-corruption crusader-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal formally launched his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday with a rally at Jantar Mantar, reiterating an anti-dynasty, anti-corruption mantra. The party's first electoral test will be the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013.
The day began with Kejriwal visiting Rajghat and Ambedkar Smriti. After adopting the constitution and electing Kejriwal as its national convener, the party chose November 26 as its founding day, opening its door to all those who wanted to be members and promising to empower the ordinary citizen.
Kejriwal said, "Aam Aadmi is one who has to pay bribes for school admissions, one whose lifetimes' savings can be wiped out due to an illness. This Aam Aadmi will now enter the assemblies and Parliament."
And to send a signal that the party has an appeal beyond Delhi, the regional identity of people from other sates was emphasised. The party claimed that more than 10,000 people had filled up forms to become founding members.
"I have hope...when I came here, I felt a sense of belonging," said a young name from Vidarbha who joined the party.
A young girl from Madhya Pradesh, who also joined the party, said, "I have been with this movement for two years. No one can say what will come of it, but I am hopeful."
Ironically, the Aam Aadmi Party's politics is anti-Neta. It aims to be everything that mainstream parties are not. The party has assured to have safeguards against dynasty politics, and also offers the right to recall its own elected leaders.
The party also promises an internal Lokpal to fight corruption, and has said that it will make its accounts public and keep its organisation lean.
The foundation day of the party was chosen with care to re-emphasise its commitment to the sprit of its constitution. The party is acutely aware that it does not have a strong presence at the grassroots or financial backing, but it hopes to cash in on the disenchantment of the common man. However, it will be the Aam Aadmi who will decide whether the party named after him becomes a credible political alternative.