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Will Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Adami Party have a Long Shelf Life?

Will Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Adami Party have a Long Shelf Life?

Arvind Kejriwal cuts an interesting cloth in Indian politics.

Arvind Kejriwal. Source: Wikimedia

Despite having resigned from the Delhi Chief Minister post because he could not manage to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed on the floor of the House, Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Adami Party, have now become a force to be reckoned with in Indian Politics.

Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister, quit his post on Februa 14th just two months after the Jan Lokpal Bill introduced by his Aam Adami Party (AAP) failed to get the requisite support in the Assembly due to joint opposition from both the Congress and Bhartiya Janata Parties. As his party could not secure the required number of seats to form a government, it sought a mandate and received impressive SMSs to form a government in Delhi which the Congress party supported.

Unnatural alliance

It was an unnatural alliance because the Congress party has been accused of corruption and Kejriwal’s political agenda is aimed at stamping out corruption. Perhaps this made him want to prove that he was in no way politically obligated to Congress party and that prompted him to lodge a complaint against the former Chief Minister in connection with the street light project ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Following the same pattern over alleged collusion in fixing natural gas prices and hoarding in the KG-D6 basin, he ordered another FIR to be registered against several more officials. Since the Delhi police are not under the control of the Delhi government, the Chief Minister therefore used his government’s own arm, the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch, to register the case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

This reinforced the image of AAP as the party that has fought to clean up corruption. It also demonstrated the AAP’s firm resolve not to engage in any political compromises. In addition, Kejriwal recently targeted some top politicians, including Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, P. Chidambaram, and Kapil Sibal, branding them all as corrupt. Unfortunately, the deterioration in Indian politics has reached such an unimaginable depth that there looks to be no hope in its reformation. Despite colossal challenges, Kejriwal had been able to assure Indian voters that there is still a ray of hope in the form of a corruption-free, responsive and responsible system of governance.

Kejriwal’s association with Anna Hazare

Although Kejriwal successfully used the platform founded by Anna Hazare in the fight against corruption and made Jan Lokpal a reality in New Delhi two years ago he had the wisdom to organise and mobilise the mass upsurge of the Aam Adami Party, which now has become the symbol of the fight against corruption.

Kejriwal’s Image

His association with Anna Hazare’s movement gave him a national image. He convinced the electorate of Delhi that the formation of a political party and assuming political power through elections was absolutely necessary if any worthwhile progress towards clean politics was to be made. He addressed the daily needs of electricity, water and other utilities during the campaign which appealed to Delhites as did his commitment against bribary.

Working with the support of a well-entrenched party like Congress was not an easy task. Particularly because he has been a bitter critic of Congress. However, he delivered on most of his party’s agenda like reducing the cost of power by half, providing 667 litres of water to each household and working to ensure bribe free public offices. His party was working towards creating jobs for contract labourers permanent and ensuring security for women.

A separate force headed by retired army officers was next on his party’s agenda. He refused to live in a big bungalow for his official residence, thereby saving the public money. These standards applied to his ministerial colleagues as well. Further, his party had been making deep inroads beyond Delhi into other states in India which increased the popularity of the AAP as more and more people joined the party and it became an alternative to the Congres party as well as the BJP.

Time will tell whether Aam Adami Party can be a permement political force in India but Arvind Kejriwal’s efforts are a step in the right direction.