Aam Aadmi Party
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was started by a first-time politician and had no connections with any age-old political party. The founders of the party were a part of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement led by veteran activist Anna Hazare. The anti-corruption movement saw activists push for the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill, which had the provisions for investigation and trial of corruption cases against public servants. The agitation caught the entire country’s imagination. But differences arose between former IRS officer Arvind Kejriwal and his erstwhile mentor Anna Hazare over politically driving the anti-corruption movement. While the veteran Gandhian believed that his movement did not need be politicised, the likes of Kejriwal felt the need to be a part of the political system to bring about the desired change. Hence, they branched out of the social movement and formally launched the AAP on November 26, 2012. It got recognition from the Election Commission in March 2013.
The AAP changed the face of Indian politics giving hope to the common man of becoming a game changer. Leading the party, Arvind Kejriwal transformed into a quintessential ‘Aam Aadmi’ fighting for the common man’s cause. Sending shock-waves across political circuits, the AAP emerged as a force to reckon with, after winning 28 of the 70 seats in the 2013 Delhi Assembly Elections and formed its government with outside support from the Indian National Congress (INC). On 28 December 2013, party founder Arvind Kejriwal was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of New Delhi.
Founder of AAP
New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, the epicentre of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, saw the beginning of a revolution in 2011. A common man with an uncommon style took the government head-on and launched an unconventional political battle. Arvind Kejriwal, a former bureaucrat, is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. He served the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) before he shook a few pillars with his efforts to enact the Right to Information Act (RTI).
A recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, Kejriwal transformed AAP from a fringe player to a giant killer in its sensational debut in the New Delhi Assembly elections. However, what makes his victory sweeter is the fact that it took Kejriwal just a year to build AAP, and made its presence felt across the nation. The IITian defeated veteran Congress politician and the thrice elected chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit in New Delhi constituency. Following the Assembly polls verdict, Kejriwal took office as the Chief Minister of Delhi on December 28, 2013. However, he resigned 49 days later when the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalled the Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by him.
The AAP decided to contest the General Elections 2014 on a mega scale. The party chief Arvind Kejriwal contested the elections against Narendra Modi – the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP from the Varanasi parliamentary constituency of UP. But he miserably lost to Modi.
Led by Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP phenomenon unleashed itself in the Indian political spectrum in no time. With the effective use of social media and the induction of highly educated volunteers, the AAP campaigned from door to door. The political affairs committee of the AAP included the likes of Gopal Rai, Kumar Vishwas, Manish Sisodia, Prashant Bhushan, Sanjay Singh and Yogendra Yadav.
Its debut in Indian politics attracted several prominent names from different walks of life. People like Captain Gopinath, Founder of Air Deccan; Mallika Sarabhai, noted danseuse; Meera Sanyal, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland-India; Sameer Nair, former CEO of Star TV; V Balakrishnan, Infosys board member; and many more joined hands with AAP. Though most of them are now not with Kejriwals’s brainchild.
Like any other political forum, the AAP too had its share of in-fighting and detraction. Internal discord started with disgruntled leaders finding fault with their own members. However, the AAP has survived as a political force
Election Symbol of the AAP
Arvind Kejriwal and his party has taken up the daunting task of cleaning the country of corruption. With this motive, the AAP chose the humble ‘broom’ as its official election symbol. Their slogan Jhaadu chalaao, beimaan bhagaao (wield the broom, get rid of cheats) is aimed at saving the Indian political system from its corrupt politicians. The party is fighting for a more transparent system, which will help the country reclaim its democratic identity.
Achievements of the AAP
After coming to power in New Delhi, the party reduced electricity bills for up to 400 units by way of subsidy. It also provided free water to households with a water meter (up to 20 kilolitres). The Kejriwal government also scrapped the much-debated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-retail. Sticking to its core vision, the AAP set up an anti-corruption helpline for citizens to report on corrupt government officials.