A party for the Aam Aadmi

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At least that is what the founders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will tell you. They proclaim ‘Swaraj’, as their motto, meaning self-rule by the common man. The coming up of this party is a direct result of the corruption that the country has faced all these years, and of the multiple scams exposed over the last two years going on inside the government as well as other parties. Arvind Kejriwal, who was first noticed by the masses as Anna Hazare’s sidekick during the anti-corruption movement, and then for his campaign supporting the right to information, formed the AAP on 26th November, 2012 along with his supporters, and was declared convener of the party.

To criticise is easy, to run the government yourself is a completely different thing. That is what politicians voiced when they saw Mr Kejriwal go on all out against government policies and corruption. And that, many feel, is precisely the reason he has jumped into politics. Being a pass out of IIT, Kharagpur he can go for high-paying jobs instead of bothering about the state of the nation, still he chooses to. He wants to assume the role of a leader after being successful as an activist. He first raised his banners against the ill-practices going on and got the Jan Lokpal bill going; now he wants to urge the largest democracy to go ahead and rule itself better and without tolerating any malpractices. He is given the nation a new hope, and at the same time, something to think about.

The AAP plans to fight the 16th Lok Sabha elections in 2014. They might even contest for the September, 2013 Madhya Pradesh elections. Arvind Kejriwal has already got down to serious work, deciding the agenda of his party. He obviously claims transparent governance, but many are sceptical whether he will be successful in running the country which has the second largest population. While he may be non-corrupt, no one can tell what his followers may do. Yes, he has appealed to the masses, he is known nationwide, but will he be able to communicate his party to the lowest grassroots population whose condition he aims to improve, before the elections?

There have been many who have tried to change the ‘system’, but have ended up being changed by it. Now, Kejriwal is up against this test. As it is the nation grapples with so many problems, just phasing out corruption cannot be the answer to every problem, people may say. But what they may fail to notice is that Kejriwal has at least taken a stand against something wrong and has offered himself for solving the problem. He may not go all the way, but he sure has started a movement. The AAP may not win the upcoming General Elections, but it sure has and will change the fabric of Indian politics. It has shown people cannot be forever suppressed by those in power; they will surely rebel at some point of time.

Arvind Kejriwal already faces strong dissent from many quarters. The Congress are accusing him of having stolen their slogan, “Congress ka hath, aam aadmi ke sath”, for the name of his party. Other political parties also feel a sense of insecurity and thus may counter his ideas. Many don’t feel that he is ready to be entrusted with such a responsibility as running a country. Now it is up to him to answer his critics and do what everybody expects of him-deliver good governance and phase out corruption. He, as an activist, has managed to surprise everybody a few times in the past when he accused people with important posts, of corruption. He got the Jan Lokpal bill and the RTI act going, which many did not think was possible. It remains to be seen if he can surprise us again in 2014.