The Aam Admi Party (AAP)- or Common Man's Party – led by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, is challenging India's mainstream parties. During the recently concluded Delhi Assembly poll, AAP emerged as the second largest party winning 28 seats in the assembly out of a total 70 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 31 and the Indian National Congress could secure only eight. The AAP success helped put an end to 15 years of Indian Congress Party rule in the Delhi state government.
Dubbed as India's pirate party, it was formed about an year ago when two anti-corruption movement (India Against Corruption) activists Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare had some differences. Hazare wanted that their movement should remain politically unaligned while Kejriwal opted for a direct political involvement by creating a new party.
When the party first decided to contest for the elections and was approved the symbol of a “broom”, it was dismissed as an insignificant and inexperienced toddler party. But Vidyut at Aam Janata blog wrote before the elcetions why people should vote for the AAP:
For me the issue isn’t even corruption alone, but the inequality of power. [..] For me it isn’t a matter of who paid a bribe to whom or who did how big as scam. It is about the people having authority to speak on what their interest is. Never mind the big parties and big talk and fancy think tanks and fancier explanations. Fact of the matter is that the government’s objectives seem to move on a separate track from people. I my view, this has to change, and at least in terms of stated interest, the AAP is setting its agendas on the streets and settling them by the word of the constitution, instead of the usual setting agendas in backroom deals and settling them on the streets. This is already more than most parties offer whether elected or not.
However, Gopan K has apprehensions about AAP:
AAP is indeed a spoiler. It took a major chunk of votes from Congress and damaged it at the same time ensured that BJP is not having a sweep. The AAP themselves failed to estimate the impact they caused and it is indicating the huge expectation the people have on them. The television channels and the social media engineering helped them in the cause. The huge expectation puts a lot of pressure on the baby shoulders of AAP. They have zero administrative experience and their working plans are raw and very conceptual. It may be tough to execute in a practical way. The different could be same as an advertisement and the actual product. They have two actual risks waiting for them.
There were strong reactions in the social media, especially Twitter.
Some celebrated the success of AAP:
"If u want to change the system, Join the system" No-one thought this to be practical. Today, things 've changed a bit, Massive Respect #AAP
— Gabbar Singh (@GabbbarSingh) December 8, 2013
I can't get over the success of #AAP it's a historic moment in our lives. A revolution has begun. Must do everything to keep it going.
— kunal kohli (@kunalkohli) December 9, 2013
— Pran Kurup (@pkurup) December 15, 2013
Some have high hopes:
#AAP shows the way forward for India. Anything is possible. Don't give up hope in the people of India.
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) December 8, 2013
— Times of India (@timesofindia) December 15, 2013
#AAP has made a point. It needs courage to stand up against the most ruthless corrupt system. If they don't win, Delhi looses.
— Sridhar R (@Sridhar67) December 4, 2013
There's not been a more important movement in India than #AAP since 'Quit India'.Need Quit India movement for corrupt politicians now
— kunal kohli (@kunalkohli) December 11, 2013
Some are apprehensive about the party's success:
The Aam Aadmi Party of India is the new communist party of India with Arvind Kejriwal as their Stalin. #AAP
— Suman Gangopadhyay™ (@sgangopadhyay) December 15, 2013
— Jia Sharma (@JiaSharmaRockz) December 11, 2013
A party needs at least 36 seats in the House of 70 members to form a government in Delhi. So it was predicted that Aam Admi Party could form a government with a qualition partner. However latest reports say that AAP will not form a Government at this moment. It remains to be seen what impact this party will have on Indian politics in near future.