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"In India, the time for change has come"
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"In India, the time for change has come"

Mridul UpadhyayFor many Indians, the one-year-old Aam Adami Party (Party of the Common People) represents hope for political change, writes Mridul Upadhyay, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from New Delhi, India. While the party’s impact on the country remains unsure, Indians now have a revived belief in the political process.

In the 2001 Bollywood movie Nayak, the main character Shivaji Rao was provoked by a corrupt official to become the chief minister for a day in order to feel the responsibility and pressure of work. 

In this article however, the hero is a brilliant mechanical engineer and retired Indian Revenue Officer, Arvind Kejariwal. His quest was launched on November 26, 2013.

Before the announcement of the result of the Delhi Legislative Assembly election last year, it seemed a tough task to change the Indian political system, but the results have cleared all doubts.

Guided by the idea that “to clear the sludge, it is necessary to descend into the mud”, Kejariwal formed a political party – the Aam Adami Party, or Party of Common People. AAP in Hindi also stands for ‘you’.

The broomstick was adopted as the representative sign of AAP, signifying efforts to clear the squalor of the political system for the benefit of the people.

Politics was not the main factor for the new party. It was just a movement against corruption, while establishing an independent and effective monitoring body to investigate alleged underhanded tactics of the then-ruling party. 

Leaders of the movement were provoked. “Politics is not easy,” opponents from the established parties said. “Commenting and demanding from outside is easy. If you want to face us, leave the march and fasting, come into the politics.”

By this point, however those parties had already sown the seeds of their own destruction.

AAP was the first party to introduce an open manifesto, and also released a constituency-wide manifesto which dealt with local problems. As a newly-formed political party, it won 28 seats out of an available 70 in the Delhi state assembly elections, held in 2013. The oldest and biggest political party of India, the Indian National Congress, captured eight seats after being the ruling party for 15 years. Additionally, it showcased the ‘mad in power’ politicians of other established Indian political parties.

The people voluntary mobilized others to support AAP. With little financial aid, the ordinary man donated small sums of money. The party choses common social activists as its representatives in the elections. It will not associate with any person with a proven illegal record, or use money from corrupt corporate houses.

I agree that politics is not easy and I am not sure how much impact the party will have. However, I believe that people’s belief in fairness has improved. This time, people have found someone to vote for. Potential representatives who could not get even two per cent of their constituency in previous elections received a more than 40 per cent turnout in 2013.

Recently, Infosys board member Venkataraman Balakrishnan, head of Royal Bank of Scotland, Meera Sanyal, as well as the sales head at Apple India, Adarsh Shastri, quit their prestigious jobs and joined AAP. The party has received almost 70 000 applications.

The national elections will be held inthe  next six months, and it is suggested that the people who once doubted the power of AAP will now support them. No one is sure if AAP candidates will be able to deal with the politics or not, but everyone is hoping that under good leadership, everyone will be able to perform well.

Thank you, Mr. Arvind Kejariwal for doing what you have done. I hope you will continue the fight.

Photograph Credit: Aam Adami Party

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About me:
A thinker, a social volunteer, a mechanical designer, a theater artist, a guitar player, a lyrics-writer, an amateur sketch artist, a cook, a traveler, a wannabe civil servant – there are many phrases I enjoy trying on me to describe what I see myself as.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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